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2009 Consumer Action Handbook

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GSA's Office of Citizen Services 2009 Consumer Action Handbook - Be A Smarter Consumer

More Info
									                   GSA Federal Citizen Information Center


Consumer ACtion hAndbook
    be a smarter consumer
The Federal Citizen Information Center would like to express its gratitude to the partners listed
below who helped make possible the publication of the 2009 Consumer Action Handbook.

  Consumer Product Safety Commission                      Direct Marketing Association
  Department of Agriculture                               Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  The Cooperative State Research,                         Frito-Lay
  Education, and Extension Service
                                                          Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Inc.
  Department of Defense
                                                          Kellogg Company
  Department of Veterans Affairs
                                                          Levi Strauss & Company
  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
                                                          MasterCard Worldwide
  Federal Trade Commission
  General Services Administration
                                                          Michelin North America, Inc.
  Securities and Exchange Commission
  American Association of Homes
  and Services for the Aging                              National Association of Consumer
                                                          Agency Administrators
                                                          National Futures Association
  American Financial Services Association
  Education Foundation                                    Nike, Inc.

  American Express Company                                The Procter & Gamble Co.

  Bridgestone/Firestone LLC                               SOCAP International
                                                          (Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals)
  Campbell Soup Company
                                                          Sprint Nextel
                                                          Subaru of America, Inc.
  The Colgate-Palmolive Company
                                                          Verizon Communications, Inc.
  Consumer Electronics Association
                                                          Visa USA, Inc.
  The Dannon Co., Inc.
                                                          Wells Fargo & Company
  Dell Inc.
                Quick consumer Tips

                         Tips For Using This handbook
  Part I —Be a Savvy ConSumer                            Part III —Key ConSumer
  Read this section for advice before you make a         InFormatIon reSourCeS
  purchase. To quickly locate specific topics and        Look here for a list of public resources and
  information, look in the Table of Contents             contact information.
  (p. ii) and the Index (p. 169).

  Part II —FIlIng a ComPlaInt                            Part Iv —ConSumer aSSIStanCe
  Turn to this section for suggestions on
  resolving consumer problems. The sample                Here you’ll find contact information for
  complaint letter on page 55 will help you              corporate offices, consumer organizations,
  present your case.                                     trade groups, government agencies and more.

  vISIt uS onlIne                A searchable version of this Handbook is available online at
                        and in Spanish at

As a savvy consumer, you should always be on the alert for shady deals and scams. To avoid becoming
a victim, keep these things in mind:
1. A deal that sounds too good to be true usually is! Be wary of promises to fix your credit problems
   (p. 13), low-interest credit card offers (p. 12), deals that let you skip credit card payments (p. 12),
   work-at-home job opportunities (p. 16), risk-free investments (p. 35), and free travel (p. 43).
2. Don’t share personal information with someone you don’t trust. Learn how to recognize fraud by
   following the advice on page 2.
3. Beware of payday and tax refund loans. Interest rates on these loans are usually excessive. Even
   a cash advance on a credit card may be a better option. For more information, see page 14.
4. Real estate agents represent the seller, not the buyer. When buying, consider hiring an agent or
   lawyer to represent you (p. 21).
5. Home improvement (p. 24) and auto repairs (p. 9) are the subjects of frequent complaints. Getting
   a second opinion can help prevent costly mistakes and enable you to make better decisions.
6. Think twice before you rent-to-own. Interest rates on rent-to-own purchases can be very high. If
   you miss a payment, you could end up with nothing. Consider buying second-hand at a thrift shop
   or through ads in your local newspaper.
7. Be cautious of Buy Here, Pay Here lots. If you decide to buy a car from a used car lot, be sure to read
   all of the papers before you sign. Don’t sign contracts that allow the dealership to change the finance
   rate AFTER you leave the lot.
8. Don’t buy under stress. Avoid making big-ticket purchases during times of duress (e.g., coping with
   a death or debt).

     Table of Contents
           QuICK ConSumer tIPS  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .i                                                                  Part III
                                                                                                                                        Key InFormatIon reSourCeS  .  .  .  .  . 56
           tIPS For uSIng tHIS HanDBooK  .  .  .  .  .i
                                                                                                                                        Part Iv
           Part I                                                                                                                       ConSumer aSSIStanCe DIreCtory . 60
           Be a Savvy ConSumer  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
                                                                                                                                        InDeX  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 169
           Part II
           FIlIng a ComPlaInt  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 51                                                                 vISIt uS onlIne  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .i

Part I: Be a Savvy ConSumer  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
BUYER BEWARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                            1     LOANS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
 Before You Buy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                1      Home Equity Loans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .14
 Service Contracts and Extended Warranties  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                                1      Installment Loans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .14
 Product Safety Recalls  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                             1     FINANCING YOUR EDUCATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
 Identifying and Stopping Fraud  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                          2
                                                                                                                                         Paying for College 101  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15
 After You Buy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .              2
                                                                                                                                         Student Financial Aid  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15
BANKING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                   2
                                                                                                                                        EMPLOYMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
 ATM / Debit Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                      2
                                                                                                                                         Employment Agencies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
 Prepaid Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .              3
                                                                                                                                         Work-At-Home Companies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
 Savings And Checking  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                               3
                                                                                                                                         Multi-Level Marketing  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .17
 Unsolicited Checks And Credit Offers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                      4
                                                                                                                                         Net-Based Business Opportunities  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .17
CARS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                               5
                                                                                                                                        FOOD AND NUTRITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                               18
 Buying A New Car  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                       5
                                                                                                                                         Healthy Food Choices  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                        18
 Buying A Used Car  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                         5
                                                                                                                                         Food Safety  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      18
 Dealer Versus Private Party Purchases  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                     6
                                                                                                                                         Weight Loss  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .         18
 Leasing  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     7
 Recalls, Lemon Laws And Secret Warranties  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                                   7     HEALTH CARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                    19
 Renting  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     8      Choosing A Doctor  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                     19
 Repairs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     9      Filing A Complaint  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                 19
 Vehicle Repossessions  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                              9      Choosing A Healthcare Facility  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                      20
CREDIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9                                                     Prescription Drugs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                 20
                                                                                                                                         Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                   21
 You Have The Right To:  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10
 Credit Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10                  HOUSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                              21
 You have the right to a FREE annual Credit Report .  .  .11                                                                             Buying A Home  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                21
 Comparing Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11                          Mortgages  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     21
 Complaints  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11                Reverse Mortgages  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                     22
 Credit Card Billing Disputes  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11                                        Types of Mortgages  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                    22
 Credit Reports And Scores  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11                                        Avoiding Foreclosure  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                     23
 FICO  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11    Before Choosing A Lender, Do Your Research:  .  .  .  .  .                                                                23
 Tips For Building A Better Credit Score  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11                                                           Moving Companies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                      24
 Negative Credit Information In Your Credit Report  .  . 12                                                                              Home Improvement And Repairs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                           24
 Dealing With Debt  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12                             Renting / Leasing  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .               25
 Out of Control Debt  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13                              Ten Tips for Renters  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                     25
 Personal Bankruptcy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .14                               Landlords .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   26

ii                                                                       To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60)
INSURANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                          26   UTILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
 Auto Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                    27    Electricity And Natural Gas  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
 Disability Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                          27    Water  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 48
 Health Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                        27   WILLS & FUNERALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                    48
 Healthcare Plans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                        27
                                                                                                                                         Planning For The End Of Life  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                           48
 Homeowner/Renter’s Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                28
                                                                                                                                         Wills  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   48
 Life Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                 29
                                                                                                                                         Choose An Executor .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                              49
 Long-Term Care Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                        29
                                                                                                                                         Funerals  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .         49
 Other Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                      29
                                                                                                                                         Veterans Cemeteries  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                               50
INTERNET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                       30
 Choosing Service Providers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                         30
 Online File Sharing .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                         30
                                                                                                                                        Part II – FIlIng a ComPlaInt  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 51
 Online Copyright Issues  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                   31   CONTACT THE SELLER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
 Online Auctions And Sellers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                           31
 Prevent Online Fraud  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                             31   CONTACT THIRD PARTIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                             51
 Spam  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      32    Dispute Resolution Programs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                            53
INVESTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33                                                           Small Claims Court  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                             53
                                                                                                                                         Legal Help And Information  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                          54
 Online Trading  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 34
                                                                                                                                         Report Fraud & Safety Hazard  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                              54
 Financial Brokers and Advisors  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
                                                                                                                                        SAMPLE COMPLAINT LETTER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
PHONES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                     35
 Slamming and Cramming  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                        36
 Cell Phones  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .              37   Part III – Key InFormatIon reSourCeS  .  .  .  . 56
 Pay-As-You-Go Plans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                              37
                                                                                                                                           For Teachers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 56
 VoIP  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   37
                                                                                                                                           For Persons with Disabilities  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 57
PRIVACY PROTECTION & IDENTITY THEFT                                                                                                37      For Military Personnel  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 57
 Tips for Preventing Identity Loss  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                              37
 Reporting Identity Theft  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                  38
 Protect Your Privacy .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                           38
                                                                                                                                        Part Iv – ConSumer aSSIStanCe
 Financial Privacy .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                     39   DIreCtory  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 60
 Medical Privacy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                      39
 Online Privacy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                 39   AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS . . . . . . . . . . . 61
SMART HOME SHOPPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40                                                                            BETTER BUSINESS BUREAUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
 Your Rights: Shopping From Home  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 40                                                        CORPORATE CONSUMER CONTACTS . . . . . . . 70
 Your Rights: 3-Day Cooling Off Rule  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 40
 Online Auctions and Sellers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .41                                        SOCAP INTERNATIONAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
TELEMARKETING & UNWANTED MAIL . . . . . . .                                                                                        41   FEDERAL AGENCIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
 National Do Not Call Registry .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                          42   NATIONAL CONSUMER ORGANIzATIONS . . 125
 Pre-Recorded Messages  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                     42
 Telemarketing Sales Calls  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                    43   STATE, COUNTY AND CITY CONSUMER
                                                                                                                                        PROTECTION OFFICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
TRAVEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                     43
 Resolving Air Travel Problems  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                            44   STATE BANKING AUTHORITIES . . . . . . . . . . . .147
 Passports  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .             45
                                                                                                                                        STATE INSURANCE REGULATORS . . . . . . . . . .151
 Travel Safety  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .               46
TV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                               46   STATE SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS . . . . 156
 Cable  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     47   STATE UTILITIES COMMISSIONS . . . . . . . . . . 160
 Satellite  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       47
 Internet TV  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .              47   TRADE AND PROFESSIONAL
 Digital Television (DTV)  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                               47   ASSOCIATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
                                                                                                                                        INDEx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

     part i – be a savvy Consumer
    Before you spend another dollar, invest a few minutes reading this section of the Handbook to help you make
    smart choices and avoid scams.

    buyer beware                                                 Service contractS and
                                                                 extended WarrantieS
Before You BuY                                                   Service contracts or “extended warranties” can add
                                                                 hundreds to your purchase price and are rarely worth
To avoid problems and make better decisions, use this
                                                                 the cost. Some duplicate warranty coverage you get
checklist BEFORE you make a purchase.
                                                                 automatically from a manufacturer or dealer. Ask these
•	 Decide	in	advance	exactly	what	you	want	and	what	             questions before you agree to one of these contracts:
   you can afford.
                                                                 •	 Does	the	dealer,	the	manufacturer,	or	an	
•	 Do	your	research.	Ask	family,	friends	and	others	you	            independent company back the service contract?
   trust for advice based on their experience. Gather
                                                                 •	 How	are	claims	handled?	Who	will	do	the	work	and	
   information about the seller and the item or service
                                                                    where it will be done?
   you are purchasing.
                                                                 •	 What	happens	to	your	coverage	if	the	dealer	or	
•	 Review	product	test	results	and	other	information	
                                                                    administrator goes out of business?
   from consumer experts. See General Resources in
   Part III (p. 56) or check the Handbook Index (p. 169)         •	 Do	you	need	prior	authorization	for	repair	work?
   for specific information.                                     •	 Are	there	any	situations	when	coverage	can	
•	 Get	advice	and	price	quotes from several sellers.                be denied? You may not have protection from
                                                                    common wear and tear, or if you fail to follow
•	 Make	sure	that	the	seller	has	all	appropriate	
                                                                    recommendations for routine maintenance.
   licenses. Doctors, lawyers, contractors and other
   service providers must register with a state or local
   licensing agency (p. 130).
                                                                 Product SafetY recallS

•	 Check	out	a	company’s	complaint	record	with	your	             Before you buy a used vehicle or other second-hand
                                                                 product, check the websites listed below to be sure it
   local consumer affairs office (p. 130) and Better
                                                                 hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Some recalls
   Business Bureau (p. 65).
                                                                 ban the sale of an item while others ask consumers to
•	 Get	a	written	copy	of	guarantees	and	warranties.	             return the item for replacement or repair. Sometimes, a
                                                                 seller provides a part that reduces the danger of using
•	 Get	the	seller’s	refund,	return	and	cancellation	
                                                                 the product.
                                                                 If you’re buying a product for a child, be especially
•	 Ask	whom	to	contact	if	you	have	a	question	                   vigilant. Each year, there are about 400 recalls of
   or problem.                                                   children’s products such as toys, clothing and jewelry.
•	 Read	and	understand	any	contract	or	legal	                    Check the websites in the “Check Here For Recalls”
   document	you	are	asked	to	sign.	Make	sure	there	              box for the latest safety recalls. You can also
   are no blank spaces. Insist that any extras you are           sign up for free e-mail notifications at
                                                        It could save a child’s life.
   promised be put in writing.
•	 Consider	paying	by	credit	card.	If	you	have	a	
   problem, you can dispute a charge made on your                  CHeCK Here For reCallS
   credit card (p. 11).                                            • lists government-initiated
•	 Don’t	buy	on	impulse	or	under	pressure.	This	                      recalls, which are gathered from federal
   includes donating to charity.
                                                                   • lists both government
                                                                      and industry-initiated recalls.
                                                                   • lists recalls and safety
                                                                      information on vehicles and equipment.

1                                                                                        60)
                                 To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 00)
identifYing and StoPPing fraud

                                                               FrauD alert
Look for these warning signs to avoid fraud:
                                                               Be on the lookout for these common scams:
•		You	are	asked	for	your	bank	account	or	credit	

                                                               Fake Check Scams – you discover the check is
   card number.                                                worthless after you’ve deposited it and wired money

•	 Someone	you	don’t	know	offers	you	the	chance	               back to the crook.
   to receive a credit card, loan, prize, lottery or other     Sweetheart Swindles – criminals befriend you
   valuable item, but asks you for personal data to            in online chat rooms or dating sites then request

   claim it.                                                   money as a favor, accident or travel expenses.
                                                               Auctions – beware of fraudulent sellers and bogus
•	 The	solicitation	looks	like	a	government	document	
   and suggests contest winnings or unclaimed assets

                                                               Lotteries – don’t fall for foreign lotteries. They’re
   are yours for a small fee. (The government doesn’t
                                                               illegal to play and may be a scam.
   solicit money from citizens.)
                                                               Advance Fee Loans and Credit – it’s illegal for
•	 Someone	you	don’t	know	asks	you	to	send	money	              telemarketers to charge a fee in advance for help

   to claim a prize, lottery, credit card, loan, or other      getting a loan.
   valuable offer.

•		An	unknown	caller	claiming	to	be	a	lawyer	or	in	law	      after You BuY
   enforcement offers to help you get your money back        Even careful buyers can run into unforeseen problems
   (for a fee).                                              later on. To minimize them, follow these steps after

•		The	deal	is	only	good	“for	today”	or	a	short	period	      you buy.
   of time.                                                  •	 Save	all	papers	that	you	get	with	your	purchase.	
                                                                Keep all contracts, sales receipts, canceled checks,

•	 A	“repair	person”	suddenly	finds	a	dangerous	
   defect in your car or home.                                  owner’s manuals and warranty documents.
•	 You	are	given	little	or	no	time	to	read	a	contract.       •	 Read	and	follow	product	and	service	instructions.	

                                                                The way you use or take care of a product might
•		A	sale	item	is	suddenly	unavailable	but	a	“much	
                                                                affect your warranty rights.
   better item” is available for slightly more money.

•	 Someone	is	trying	to	scare	you	into	purchasing	
   credit protection plans.
To learn more about avoiding identity theft and

fraud, go to page 37.                                        atM/deBit cardS
                                                             With a debit card and personal identification number

                                                             (PIN),	you	can	use	an	Automated	Teller	Machine	
 QuICK tIPS For avoIDIng FrauD                               (ATM),	to	withdraw	cash,	make	deposits,	or	transfer	
                                                             funds	between	accounts.	Some	ATMs	charge	a	fee	

 Don’t give out personal information.                        if	you	are	not	a	member	of	the	ATM	network	or	are	
 Be suspicious of anyone you don’t know who
                                                             making a transaction at a remote location.
 asks for your Social Security number, credit card
 number, bank account number, password or other              Retail purchases can also be made with a debit card.

 personal data.                                              You enter your PIN or sign for the purchase. Some
 Don’t be intimidated.                                       banks charge customers a fee for debit card purchases
 Be suspicious of callers who want you to                    made with a PIN. Although a debit card looks like a
 immediately provide or verify personal information.         credit card, the money for the purchase is transferred

 Tell them you’re not interested and hang up.                immediately from your bank account to the store’s
 Monitor your accounts.                                      account. When you use a debit card, federal law also

 Review bank and credit card statements carefully.           does not give you the right to stop payment. You must
 Report unauthorized transactions to your financial          resolve the problem with the seller.

 institution immediately.                                    If you suspect your debit card has been lost or stolen,
 Use a shredder.                                             call the card issuer immediately. While federal law

 Tear or shred credit offers you receive in the mail,        limits your liability for a lost or stolen credit card to
 bank statements, insurance forms and other                  $50,	your	liability	for	unauthorized	use	of	your	ATM	
 papers with personal information.

                                                             or debit card can be much greater, depending on how
                                                             quickly you report the loss.

                                                                  While the federal government does not guarantee
                                                                  the same protections for all prepaid cards, many
                                                                  “branded” cards voluntarily carry protections that are
                                                                  the same as credit and debit cards. Cards with a major
                                                                  credit card brand logo provide consumer protections,
                                                                  such as replacing lost or stolen cards and re-crediting
                                                                  money after unauthorized use of the card.
                                                                  To obtain these benefits, you must follow the instructions
                                                                  for registering and activating your card. Be sure to record
                                                                  your card information, including the customer service
                                                                  telephone number on the back of the card, so you can get
                                                                  a replacement if yours is lost or stolen.
                                                                  If you have a problem with a prepaid card, first contact
                                                                  the customer service number. If the problem still isn’t
                                                                  resolved, you may want to file a complaint with the
                                                                  proper authorities:
                                                                  •	 For	cards	issued	by	retailers,	contact	the	FTC	
                                                                     (p. 121). You may also file a complaint with your
•	 If	you	report	a	debit	card	missing	before	it	is	used,	
                                                                     local consumer protection office (p. 130).
   you are not responsible for any unauthorized
   withdrawals.                                                   •	 For	cards	issued	by	national	banks,	contact	the	
                                                                     Comptroller of the Currency (p. 118).
•	 Your	liability	is	limited	to	$50	if	you	report	the	loss	
   within two business days after you realize your debit          •	 For	cards	issued	by	state	banks,	contact	the	
   card is missing and to $500 if you report the loss                FDIC (p. 121) or state banking authority (p. 147).
   between two and 60 days.
•	 If	you	have	not	reported	an	unauthorized	use	of	a	
                                                                  SavingS and checking
   debit	or	ATM	card	within	60	days	after	your	bank	              When it comes to finding a safe place to put your
   mails the statement documenting the unauthorized               money, there are a lot of options. Savings accounts,
   use, you could lose all the money in your bank                 checking accounts, certificates of deposit and money
   account as well as the unused portion of your line of          market accounts are popular choices. Each has
   credit established for overdrafts.                             different rules and benefits that fit different needs.
                                                                  When choosing the one that is right for you, consider:
Check the policies of your card issuer. Some offer
more generous limits on a voluntary basis.                        Minimum deposit requirements. Some accounts
                                                                  can only be set up with a minimum dollar amount. If
                                                                  your account goes below the minimum, the bank may
PrePaid cardS                                                     not pay you interest on the money you deposited and
Prepaid cards issued by banks and other government-               you may be charged extra fees.
regulated organizations are a new way for consumers               Limits on withdrawals. Can you take money out
to make payments and conduct other financial                      whenever you want? Are there any penalties for
transactions. There are plenty of situations where a              doing so?
prepaid card might be the most convenient choice, but
                                                                  Interest. How much (if anything) is paid and when?
be sure you understand the key terms and conditions
                                                                  Daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly? To compare rates
BEFORE you buy. Ask these questions when you are
                                                                  offered locally to those from financial institutions
considering a prepaid card:
                                                                  around the nation, visit
•	 What	are	the	possible	fees	associated	with	using	
   the card?
•	 Where	can	the	card	be	used	(online,	at	ATMs,	                    ProteCt your PIn
   outside the U.S.)?
                                                                    Beware of shoulder surfers. Be suspicious of
Reputable distributors of prepaid cards will give you               anyone	lurking	around	an	ATM	or	watching	over	
the terms and conditions in writing or have them                    your shoulder while you use your card. Some thieves
available on their website. If you don’t understand how             even use binoculars or cameras to steal your PIN.
your card works, ask for help where you purchased                   If you suspect criminal activity, walk away and use a
it, from your employer (if it’s a payroll card), or by              different	ATM.
contacting the customer service number on the card.

3                               To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                          or services you don’t want or need. In addition,

                                                          those “guarantees” for credit cards or loans, without
                                                          consideration of credit history, are probably a scam.
                                                          Legitimate lenders never guarantee credit. For more

                                                          information on how to identify fraudulent solicitations,
                                                          see page 121 or visit

                                                          Legitimate offers of credit often come in the form of
                                                          “convenience checks,” which credit card companies

                                                          enclose with your monthly statement. However, these
                                                          convenience checks may carry higher fees, a higher
                                                          interest rate and other restrictions. If you don’t want
                                                          them, be sure to shred the checks to protect yourself

                                                          from dumpster divers and identity thieves.
Deposit insurance.	Make	sure	your	bank	is	a	member	
                                                          Contact the proper regulatory agency below.
of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
This organization protects the money in your checking

and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and IRA            type of                  regulatory
accounts up to $250,000. For more information, see             institution                 agency

page 121 or visit
                                                                                       Regulated by the Federal
Credit unions. A credit union is a nonprofit,
                                                                                         Deposit Insurance
cooperative financial institution owned and run by its       State chartered banks
                                                                                       Corporation (p . 121) and
members. Like the FDIC does for banks, the National

                                                              and trust companies
                                                                                          by state banking
Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures
                                                                                         authorities (p . 147) .
a person’s savings up to $250,000.
                                                                                           Regulated by the

Convenience. How easy is it to put money in and take          Banks with National
                                                                                       Comptroller of Currency,
it	out?	Are	there	branches	or	ATM	machines	close	to	          in the name or N.A.
                                                                                       U .S . Department of the
where you work and live? Can you bank by phone or                after the name
                                                                                           Treasury (p . 118) .

                                                                                        Regulated by the Office
If you are considering a checking account or another          Federal savings and
                                                                                         of Thrift Supervision,
type of account with check-writing privileges, add             loans and Federal
                                                                                          Department of the

these items to your list of things to think about:               savings banks
                                                                                           Treasury (p . 118) .
Number of checks. Is there a maximum number                                               Regulated by the
of checks you can write per month without incurring           Federally chartered
                                                                                        National Credit Union

a charge?                                                        credit unions
                                                                                        Administration (p . 122) .
Account and check fees. Is there a monthly fee for
the account or a charge for each check you write?

Holds on checks. Is there a waiting period for
checks to clear before you can withdraw the money
                                                           Payroll anD general PurPoSe

from your account?
Overdrafts. If you write a check for more money than       SPenDIng CarDS
you have in your account, what happens? You may be         Payroll and General Purpose Spending Cards can

able to link your checking account to a savings account    be very useful for those who want to budget their
to protect yourself.                                       money and for those who don’t have a checking
                                                           account or credit card.
Bounced checks. It’s your responsibility to have
                                                           General Purpose Spending Cards, which may

sufficient funds in your account to cover checks that
you write. Your bank will charge you for insufficient      be purchased by consumers, typically charge
funds. Bounced checks can also blemish your credit         a monthly maintenance fee and could charge

                                                           additional fees for adding funds to the card and/or
record, so you may want to talk to your bank about
                                                           making purchases or getting cash.

overdraft protection.
                                                           Payroll Cards are similar to General Purpose
                                                           Spending Cards except that they are provided
unSolicited checkS and                                     by employers in place of paychecks. Payroll

credit offerS                                              Cards	typically	allow	a	certain	number	of	ATM	
                                                           withdrawals without charge to the cardholder and

If you cash an unsolicited check you’ve received in        usually do not assess fees for purchases.
the mail, you could be agreeing to pay for products

     Cars                                                            Car and Driver ( and
                                                                     Edmunds automotive books and network
                                                                     ( For more information, visit
    Whether you are buying or leasing a vehicle, these     
    tips will help you get the best deal and avoid
    problems.                                                        •	 Research	the	dealer’s	price	for	the	car	and	options.	
                                                                        It’s easier to get the best price when you know what
    •	 Decide	what	kind	of	vehicle	best	suits	your	needs	               the dealer paid for a vehicle. The dealer invoice
       and budget.                                                      price is available on a number of websites and in
    •	 Check	out	the	seller.	For	car	dealers,	check	with	               printed pricing guides. Consumer Reports offers
       your state or local consumer protection agency                   the wholesale price: this figure factors in dealer
       (p. 130) and Better Business Bureau (p. 65). If you’re           incentives from a manufacturer and is a more accurate
       buying from an individual, check the title to make               estimate of what a dealer is paying for a vehicle.
       sure you’re dealing with the vehicle owner.                   •	 Find	out	if	the	manufacturer	is	offering	rebates
    •	 Take	a	test	drive.	Drive	at	different	speeds	and	check	          that will lower the cost. For more information, visit
       for smooth right and left turns. On a straight stretch, and
       make sure the vehicle doesn’t pull to one side.                  Rebate.html.
    •	 Handle	trade-ins	and	financing separately from                •	 Get	price	quotes from several dealers. Find out if
       your purchase to get the best deal on each. Get a                the amounts quoted are the prices before or after
       written price quote before you talk about a trade-in             rebates are deducted.
       or dealer financing.                                          •	 Avoid	low-value	extras	such	as	credit	insurance,	
    •	 Shop	in	advance	and	compare	financing	options	                   extended warranties, auto club memberships, rust
       at your credit union, bank or finance company.                   proofing and upholstery finishes. You do not have to
       Look at the total finance charges and the Annual                 purchase credit insurance in order to get a loan. See
       Percentage Rate (APR), not just the monthly                      Service Contracts and Extended Warranties (p. 1)
       payment.                                                         and Credit Insurance (p. 9).
    •	 Read	and	understand	every	document	you	
       are asked to sign.                                            BuYing a uSed car
    •	 Don’t	take	possession	of	the	car	until	all	                   •	 Learn	what	rights	you	have	when	buying	a	used car.
       paperwork is final.                                              Contact your state or local consumer protection
                                                                        office (p. 130).
    •		Choose	an	auto	insurance	policy	that	is	right	
       for you (p. 27).                                              •	 Find	out	in	advance	what	paperwork	you	will	need	
                                                                        to register a vehicle. Contact your state’s motor
    BuYing a neW car                                                    vehicle department.

    Do your research first and compare vehicles. Four                •	 Check	prices	of	similar	models	using	the	NADA	
    key resources that offer vehicle performance, service               Official Used Car Guide (
    and safety information are:                                         published by the National Automobile Dealer
    Consumer Reports (,                         Association (p. 64) or the Kelly Blue Book
    Motor	Trend	(,                                   ( These guides are usually available
                                                                        at local libraries.
                                                                     •	 Research	the	vehicle’s	history.	Ask	the	seller	for	
                                                                        details concerning past owners, use, and
                                                                        maintenance. Next, find out whether the car has been
                                                                        damaged in a flood, involved in a crash, been labeled
                                                                        a lemon, or had its odometer rolled back. The vehicle
                                                                        identification number (VIN) will help you do this.
                                                                     •	 Your	state	motor	vehicle	department	can	research	
                                                                        the car’s title history. Inspect the title for “salvage,”
                                                                        “rebuilt,” or similar notations.

5                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60)
 government Fuel eConomy WeB PageS                          dealer verSuS
 •                                    Private PartY PurchaSeS
    is a green vehicle guide that

                                                            In general, buying from a dealer is a safer option
    can help you identify vehicles
    that are fuel-efficient and have
                                                            because you are dealing with an institution, which

    clean-running engines.                                  means you are better protected by law. The Federal
                                                            Trade Commission requires dealers to post a
 •	 Go	to to                            Buyer’s Guide in the window of each used car or

    compare the miles-per-gallon ratings
                                                            truck on their lot. This Guide specifies whether the
    of different vehicle models manufactured
    since the mid-1980s.                                    vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty, and
                                                            what percentage of repair costs a dealer will pay
 •		Use

                                                            under the warranty. Keep in mind that private sellers
    money.shtml to calculate annual fuel
                                                            generally have less responsibility than dealers for
                                                            defects or other problems. FTC rules do not apply
                                                            to private-party sales.

•	 The	websites and                          Expect to pay higher prices at a dealer than if you sell information on the                buy	from	an	individual.	Many	dealers	inspect	their	

   history of vehicles gathered from state motor            cars and provide an inspection report with each
                                                            car. However, this is no substitute for your own
   vehicle departments and other sources. These
                                                            inspection. Some dealers provide limited warranties,
   reports are helpful but do not guarantee a vehicle
                                                            and most sell extended warranties. Watch out for
   is accident-free.

                                                            dealer warranties that are “powertrain” warranties
•	 The	National Highway Traffic Safety Administration       only, and not “bumper-to-bumper,” full-coverage
   ( lists VINs of its crash-test         warranties. It’s best to compare warranties that are

   vehicles and will let you search an online database of   available from other sources.
   manufacturer service bulletins.                          Some dealers provide “certified” cars. This
                                                            generally means that the cars have had a more
•	 The	Center for Auto Safety (

                                                            thorough inspection and come with a limited
   provides information on safety defects, recalls,
                                                            warranty. Prices for certified cars are generally
   and lemons, as well as service bulletins.                higher. Be sure to get a list of what was inspected

•	 Visit for a free online              and what is covered under the warranty.
   search of its database of lemons registered by           Purchasing a car from a private seller may save
   previous owners.                                         you money, but there are risks. The car could be

•	 Make	sure	any	mileage	disclosures	match	the	             stolen, damaged or still under a finance agreement.
   odometer reading on the car.                             If a private seller lies to you about the condition of
                                                            the vehicle, you may sue the individual if you have

•	 Check	the	warranty.	If	a	manufacturer’s	warranty	        evidence and you can find him. An individual is
   is still in effect, contact the manufacturer to make     very unlikely to give a written warranty.
   sure you can use the coverage.

•	 Ask	about	the	dealer’s	return	policy.	Get	it	in	
   writing and read it carefully.
                                                               rePlaCe tIreD tIreS
•	 Have	the	car	inspected	by	your	mechanic.	Talk	
   to the seller and agree in advance that you’ll              Check the tread for wear. While the legal limit is
                                                                    2/32 of an inch of tread depth, consider
   pay for the examination if the car passes
                                                                       replacing tires when the tread reaches
   inspection, but the seller will pay if

                                                                         4 /32 -inch depth. The small difference
   significant problems are discovered.                                     in tread can make a big difference in
   A qualified mechanic should check                                         braking distance. Buy tires that fit.

   the vehicle’s frame, tires, air bags and                                   Find the size and type of tire

   under-carriage, as well as the engine.                                      recommended by the manufacturer
                                                                               of your vehicle.
•	 Examine	dealer	documents	carefully.	
                                                               																								Maintain	proper	pressure.	
   Make	sure	you	are	buying	–	not	

                                                                                       Keeping your tires properly inflated
   leasing – the vehicle. Leases use                                                  will improve gas mileage and
   terms such as a “balloon payment”                                                 increase the life of your tires.

   and “base mileage” disclosures.

                                                                         •	 Ask	for	details	on	wear	and	tear	standards.	Dings	
    BeWare!                                                                 that you regard as normal wear and tear could be
    CurB StonIng & tItle WaSHIng                                            billed as significant damage at the end of your lease.
                                                                         •	 Find	out	how	many	miles	you	can	drive	in	a	year.	Most	
    Curb stoning occurs when a dealer has an inferior or
    damaged car he can’t sell on his lot. He gives the car                  leases allow 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year. Expect a
    to a salesperson to sell through the classifieds, as if                 charge of 10 to 25 cents for each additional mile.
    it were a private party sale. A title history report will
                                                                         •	 Check	the	manufacturer’s	warranty.	It	should	cover	
    show that the title recently changed hands and may
    reveal that it is a lemon or an otherwise branded car.                  the entire lease term and the number of miles you are
    Be suspicious if the seller’s name is different from the                likely to drive.
    name on the title.                                                   •	 Ask	the	dealer	what	happens	if	you	give	up	the	car	
    Title washing occurs when scam artists try to sell a                    before the end of your lease. There may be extra fees
    salvage vehicle by concealing its history of damage                     for doing so.
    from a buyer. Although a vehicle’s title should show if
    it has been damaged or salvaged, some states do not                  •	 Ask	what	happens	if	the	car	is	involved	in	an	accident.
    document titles in the same way as other states. By
    moving a vehicle and its title through several different
                                                                         •	 Get	all	the	terms	in	writing.	Everything	included	with	
    states, con artists try to “wash” out the title branding of             the car should be listed on the lease to avoid being
    salvage or damage. The best way to avoid this trick is                  charged for “missing” equipment later.
    to buy only from reputable dealers and/or to get a title             The Federal Reserve Board of Governors offers a
    guarantee in writing.
                                                                         consumer guide to auto leasing at www.federalreserve.

leaSing                                                                  recallS, leMon laWS
When you lease, you pay to drive someone else’s                          and Secret WarrantieS
vehicle.	Monthly	payments	for	a	lease	may	be	lower	
than loan payments, but at the end of the lease you                      Sometimes a manufacturer makes a design or
have no ownership or equity in the car. To get the                       production mistake on a motor vehicle. A service
best deal, follow these advice points in addition to the                 bulletin notifies the dealer of the problem and how
general suggestions for buying a car (p. 5).                             to resolve it. Because these free repairs are not
                                                                         publicized, they are called “secret warranties.” The
•	 To	help	you	compare	leasing	versus	owning,	the	                       National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
   Consumer Leasing Act requires leasing companies                       ( maintains a database of service
   to give you information on monthly payments and                       bulletins filed by manufacturers.
   other charges. Check out,                          If you have a problem with a vehicle that is a safety hazard, and                          check whether the manufacturer has recalled your vehicle.
   for information on leases and current deals.                          Click on Recalls at or call NHTSA at
•	 Consider	using	an	independent	agent	rather	than	                      1-800-424-9393. Hazards that aren’t listed should be
   the	dealer.	You	might	find	a	better	deal.	Most	                       reported to your dealer, the manufacturer of the vehicle
                                                                         (p. 61), and NHTSA. If a safety-related defect exists,
   financial institutions that offer auto financing also
                                                                         the maker must fix it at no cost to you – even if your
   offer leasing options.
                                                                         warranty has expired.

                             BeWare!                              CreDIt anD SuBleaSe BroKerS
        DealerS PoSIng aS InDIvIDualS                             Con artists often prey on people who have bad credit and
                                                                  who cannot get car loans. “Credit brokers” promise to get
        Some dealers pretend to be private sellers to             a loan for you in exchange for a high fee. In many cases, the
       avoid legal obligations and to sell problematic            “broker” takes the fee and disappears. “Sublease brokers”
       cars to unsuspecting buyers. Be wary: if an ad             charge a fee to arrange for you to “sublease” or “take
    gives only a mobile number or specifies a time to             over” someone else’s car lease or loan. Such deals usually
     call, if the same number appears in several ads,             violate the original loan or lease agreement. Your car can be
              or the seller wants to bring the car to you         repossessed even if you’ve made all of your payments. You
                               or meet you somewhere.             also might have trouble insuring your car.

7                                   To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).

                                                              Federal law does not cover short-term car and truck
                                                              rentals, but some state laws do. Contact your state

                                                              or local consumer protection office (p. 130) for
                                                              information or to file a complaint.

                                                              •	 Ask	in	advance	if	there	are	any	charges	besides	
                                                                 the stated rental fee. There may be an airport

                                                                 surcharge or drop-off fees, insurance fees, fuel
                                                                 charges, mileage fees, taxes, additional-driver
                                                                 fees, underage-driver fees, and equipment rental
                                                                 fees (for items such as ski racks and car seats).

                                                              •	 Ask	if	the	rental	company	checks	the	driving	records	
                                                                 of customers when they arrive at the counter. If so,
                                                                 you could be rejected even if you have a confirmed

                                                              •	 Check	in	advance	to	be	sure	you	aren’t	duplicating	

                                                                 insurance coverage. If you’re traveling on business,
                                                                 your employer may have insurance that covers
                                                                 accidental damage to the vehicle. You might

                                                                 also have coverage through your personal auto
If you have a vehicle with a unique problem that just
                                                                 insurance, a motor club membership, or the credit
never seems to get fixed, you may have a lemon. Some
                                                                 card you use to reserve the rental.
states have laws concerning lemons that require a

refund or replacement if a problem is not fixed within a      •	 Carefully	inspect	the	vehicle	and	its	tires	before	renting.
reasonable number of tries or you haven’t been able to
                                                              •	 Check	refueling	policies	and	charges.
use your vehicle for a certain number of days. Contact

your state or local consumer protection office (p. 130)       •	 Ask	the	rental	company	if	a	deposit	is	required.	
to learn whether you have such protections and what              If so, ask for a clear explanation of the deposit
steps you must take to get your problem solved. If you           refund procedures.

believe your car is a lemon:
•	 Give	the	dealer	a	list	of	the	
   problems every time you bring               CHooSe a SaFe veHICle

   it in for repairs.
                                               Crash tests can help you determine how well a vehicle will protect
•	 Get	and	keep	copies	of	the	                 you in a crash. Here are different organizations that perform crash

   repair orders listing the                   tests and rate vehicles:
   problems, the work done,                    •	 The	National	Highway	Traffic	Safety	Administration	
   and the dates that the car was                 ( Each year, NHTSA crashes vehicles

   in the shop.                                   head-on into a wall and bashes them broadside to test their ability
                                                  to protect their occupants. NHTSA focuses on evaluating vehicle
•	 Contact	the	manufacturer,	as	                  restraints such as air bags and safety belts.

   well as the dealer, to report the           •	 The	Insurance	Institute	for	Highway	Safety	(
   problem. Check your owner’s                    A different test by the IIHS uses offset-frontal car crashes to assess
   manual or the directory for the                the protection provided by a vehicle’s structure.
   auto manufacturer (p. 61).                  •	 Consumers Union. Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue rates

•	 Help	other	consumers	                          vehicles in terms of overall safety. Its safety score combines
                                                  crash test results with a vehicle’s accident avoidance
   avoid purchasing your

                                                  factors – emergency handling, braking, acceleration,
   lemon by registering it at                     and even driver comfort.
                                               To find out whether a manufacturer has recalled a car for
The Center for Auto Safety (p. 125)            safety defects, contact NHTSA (p. 119). If a vehicle has
gathers information and complaints             been recalled, ask the dealer for proof that the defect has

concerning safety defects, recalls,            been repaired. Used vehicles should also have a current
service bulletins and state lemon laws.        safety inspection sticker if your state requires one.

                                                                  •	 Can	repossess	with	cause	without	advance	notice
                                                                  •	 Can	insist	you	pay	off	the	entire	loan	balance	in	
                                                                     order to get the repossessed vehicle back
                                                                  •	 Can	sell	the	vehicle	at	auction
                                                                  •	 Might	be	able	to	sue	you	for	the	difference	between	
                                                                     the vehicle’s auction price and what you owe
                                                                  •	 Cannot	break	into	your	home	or	physically	threaten	
                                                                     someone while taking the vehicle
                                                                  If you know you’re going to be late with a payment,
                                                                  talk to the lender to try to work things out. If you and
                                                                  the lender reach an agreement, be sure you get the
                                                                  agreement in writing. Contact your state or local
                                                                  consumer protection office (p. 130) to find out whether
                                                                  your state gives you any additional rights.

Whenever you take a vehicle to the shop:
•	 Choose	a	reliable	repair	shop.	Family,	friends	or	an	          Like everything else you buy, it pays to comparison
   independent consumer rating organization should                shop for credit. For up-to-date interest rate reports on
   be able to help you. Look for shops that display               mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, home equity loans,
   various certifications that are current. You should            and other banking products, visit
   also check out the shop’s record with your state or            For a listing of credit cards, visit
   local consumer protection office (p. 130) or Better            The Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects you when
   Business Bureau (p. 65).                                       dealing with anyone who regularly offers credit,
                                                                  including banks, finance companies, stores, credit
•	 Describe	the	symptoms.	Don’t	try	to	diagnose	
                                                                  card companies and credit unions. When you apply for
   the problem.
                                                                  credit, a creditor may not:
•	 Make	it	clear	that	work	cannot	begin	until	you	have	a	
                                                                  •	 Ask	about	or	consider	your	sex,	race,	national	origin	
   written estimate and you give your okay. Never sign a
                                                                     or religion
   blank repair order. If the problem can’t be diagnosed
   on the spot, insist that the shop contact you for              •	 Ask	about	your	marital	status	or	your	spouse	–	
   authorization once the trouble has been found.                    unless you are applying for a joint account or relying
                                                                     on your spouse’s income, or you live in a community
•	 Ask	the	shop	to	keep	the	old	parts	for	you.
                                                                     property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana,
•	 Follow	the	warranty	instructions	if	a	repair	is	                  Nevada,	New	Mexico,	Texas	or	Washington)
   covered under warranty.
                                                                  •	 Ask	about	your	plans	to	have	or	raise	children
•	 Get	all	repair	warranties	in	writing.
                                                                  •	 Refuse	to	consider	public	assistance	income	or	
•	 Keep	copies	of	all	paperwork.                                     regularly received alimony or child support
Some states, cities and counties have special laws
that deal with auto repairs. For information on the laws
in your state, contact your state or local consumer
protection office (p. 130). A consumer guide to Auto
                                                                  BeWare: CreDIt InSuranCe
Repair is available at               When you take out a loan for a big purchase, a
consumer/autos/aut13.pdf.                                         salesperson may try to sell you credit insurance.
                                                                  Your credit card company may also encourage you
                                                                  to purchase credit insurance. The coverage may be
vehicle rePoSSeSSionS                                             promoted as a way for you to protect yourself if your
When you borrow money to buy a car or truck, the                  property is damaged or lost. Other credit insurance
                                                                  offers promise to make loan payments if you are laid
lender can take your vehicle back if you miss a
                                                                  off, become disabled or die. It is almost always better
payment or in some other way violate the contract.                to buy regular property, life or disability insurance
You should also be aware that the lender:                         instead of credit insurance.

9                               To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                             credit cardS

                                                             Chances are, you’ve received “pre-approved” credit
                                                             card offers in the mail. Examine the fine print carefully

                                                             before you accept any offer for a credit or charge card.
                                                             Look for:

                                                             •	 The Annual Percentage Rate (APR). If the
                                                                interest rate is variable, how is it determined

                                                                and when can it change?
                                                             •	 The periodic rate. This is the interest rate used
                                                                to figure the finance charge on your balance each

                                                                billing period.
                                                             •	 The annual fee. While some cards have no annual
                                                                fee, others expect you to pay an amount each year
                                                                for being a cardholder.

                                                             •	 The grace period. This is the number of days

                                                                you have to pay your bill before finance charges
                                                                start. Without this period, you may have to pay
                                                                interest from the date you use your card or when
                                                                the purchase is posted to your account.

                                                             •	 The finance charges.	Most	lenders	calculate	
•	 Refuse	to	consider	income	because	of	your	sex	or	            finance charges using an average daily account
   marital status or because it is from part-time work

                                                                balance, which is the average of what you owed
   or retirement benefits                                       each day in the billing cycle. Look for offers that
You Have The Right To:                                          use an adjusted balance, which subtracts your
                                                                payment from your beginning balance. This

•	 Have	credit	in	your	birth	name,	your	first	name	and	         method usually has the lowest finance charges.
   your spouse’s last name, or your first name and a            Stay away from offers that use the previous
   combined last name;

                                                                balance in calculating what you owe; this method
•	 Have	a	co-signer	other	than	your	spouse	if	one	              has the highest finance charges. Also, don’t forget
   is necessary;                                                to check if there is a minimum finance charge.

•	 Keep	your	own	accounts	after	you	change	your	             •	 Other fees. Ask about special fees when you
   name, marital status or retire, unless the creditor has      get a cash advance, make a late payment, or go
   evidence you are unable or unwilling to pay;

•	 Know	why	a	credit	application	is	rejected	–	the	
   creditor must give you the specific reasons or tell

   you where and how you can get a copy of the credit
   report they used to determine their rejection, if you     loSt anD Stolen
   ask within 60 days;
                                                             CreDIt CarDS
•	 Have	accounts	shared	with	your	spouse	reported	
                                                             Immediately call the card issuer
   in both your names;                                       when you suspect a credit
•	 Know	how	much	it	will	cost	to	borrow	money.               or charge card has been

                                                             lost or stolen.
For additional information on credit, see Buying
                                                             Once you report the loss
a Home (p. 21) and Cars (p. 5). Other sources of

                                                             or theft of a card, you
information include the HUD Housing Counseling
                                                             have no further

Clearinghouse at 1-888-466-3487, the FTC (p. 121),           responsibility for
and the National Consumer Law Center (p. 128).               unauthorized charges.
You have the right to a FREE annual Credit Report.           In any event, your

(See “FREE CREDIT REPORTS” box p. 11)                        maximum liability
                                                             under federal law

                                                             is $50 per card.

     over your credit limit. Some companies charge                •	 The	creditor	or	card	issuer	must	acknowledge	your	
     a monthly fee regardless of whether you use                     letter in writing within 30 days of receiving it and
     your card.                                                      conduct an investigation within 90 days. You do
The Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act                       not have to pay the amount in dispute during the
requires credit and charge card issuers to include                   investigation.
this information on credit applications. The Federal              •	 If	there	was	an	error,	the	creditor	must	credit	your	
Trade Commission (p. 121) offers a wide range of                     account and remove any fees.
free publications on credit and consumer rights
at The Federal Reserve Board (p. 121)                •	 If	the	bill	is	correct,	you	must	be	told	in	writing	what	
provides a free brochure on choosing a credit card                   you owe and why. You must pay it along with any
and a guide to credit protection laws at                             related finance charges.                                           If you don’t agree with the creditor’s decision, file
                                                                  an appeal with the Office of the Comptroller of the
comparing cards                                                   Currency (p. 121).
•	 Bank	Rate	( provides free credit
   card tips and information.                                     credit rePortS and ScoreS
•	 Consumer Action ( has                  A credit report contains information on where you
   a site that features credit card surveys of interest           work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether
   rates, fees and other terms from dozens of credit              you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.
   cards, as well as free brochures and guides on                 Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) gather
   choosing and using credit cards.                               this information and sell it to creditors, employers,
                                                                  insurers, and others. The most common type of CRA
•	 Card	Web	( lists credit cards and              is the credit bureau. There are three major credit
   offers e-mail newsletters for consumers, frequently            bureaus: Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 or
   asked questions and online credit card calculators.            – fraud alert 1-888-766-0008; Experian: 1-888-397-3742
•	 Card	Ratings	( lists and                   or – fraud alert 1-888-397-3472;
                                                                  TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 or –
   reviews credit cards, and offers tips and credit
                                                                  fraud alert 1-800-680-7289.
   card calculators.
                                                                  The information in your credit report is used to
To complain about a problem with your credit card
                                                                  calculate your FICO score, a number generally
company, call the number on the back of your card
                                                                  between 300 and 850. The higher your score, the less
and try to resolve the problem. If you fail to resolve the
                                                                  risk you pose to creditors. A high score, for example,
issue, ask for the name, address and phone number of
                                                                  makes it easier it is for you to obtain a loan, rent an
its regulatory agency. See the chart on page 4 to find
                                                                  apartment, or lower your insurance rate. Your FICO
the best federal or state regulatory agency to contact.
                                                                  score is available from for a fee.
To complain about a credit bureau, department store               Free credit reports do not contain your credit score,
or other Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation                    although you can purchase your credit score when
(FDIC) insured financial institution, write to the                you request your free annual credit report through
Consumer Response Center (p. 121). You may also         
file a complaint at
                                                                  Tips For Building A Better Credit Score
credit card Billing disputes
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have the right to
dispute charges on your credit card you didn’t make, are            Free CreDIt rePortS
incorrect, or for goods or services you didn’t receive.             You can request a free credit report every year from
                                                                    the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax,
•	 Send	a	letter	to	the	creditor	within	60	days	of	the	             Experian and TransUnion. You may want to request
   postmark of the bill with the disputed charge.                   your credit reports one at a time every four months so
•	 Include	your	name	and	account	number,	the	date	                  you can monitor your credit throughout the year, without
                                                                    having to pay for a report. (If you ask the credit bureaus
   and amount of the disputed charge, and a complete
                                                                    directly, they will charge you a fee to obtain your
   explanation of why you are disputing the charge.                 report.) To order your free report, you must go through
•	 To	ensure	it’s	received,	send	your	letter	by	certified	 or call 1-877-322-8228.
   mail, with a return receipt requested.

11                              To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                            •	 Contact	both	the	credit	reporting	agency	and	the	

 BeWare: oFFerS to SKIP a Payment                              company that provided the information to the CRA.
 If your credit company invites you to skip a monthly       •	 Tell	the	CRA	in	writing	what	information	you	believe	
 payment without a penalty, it is not doing you a favor.

                                                               is inaccurate.
 You will still owe finance charges on your unpaid
 balance. And interest could be adding up on any            Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, the information

 purchases you make after the due date you skipped.         provider is required to investigate and report the
                                                            results to the CRA. If the information is found to be

                                                            incorrect, it must notify all nationwide CRAs to correct
 BeWare: teaSer rateS                                       your file. If the investigation does not solve your
                                                            dispute, ask that your statement concerning the
 Some cards are advertised with very low introductory
                                                            dispute be included in your file. A notice of your
 interest rates called teasers. The rate is good for a

                                                            dispute must be included anytime the CRA reports
 short period of time. If you know you can pay what you
 owe while the low rate is in effect, it could be a good    the negative item.
 deal. But if the teaser time runs out and you still owe    If the information is accurate, only time, hard work,
 money, you could end up paying a higher rate than you      and a personal debt repayment plan will improve

 might have without the special introductory rate. Just     your credit report. Credit repair companies advertise
 one late payment could also cancel the teaser rate.        that they can erase bad credit for a hefty fee. Don’t

                                                            believe it.
•	 Pay	your	bills	on	time.	Delinquent	payments	and	         Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit
   collections negatively impact your score.                repair companies can’t require you to pay until they

•	 Keep	balances	low	on	credit	cards	and	other	             have completed promised services. They must also
                                                            give you:
   “revolving credit.” High outstanding debt lowers
   your score.                                              •	 A	copy	of	the	“Consumer	Credit	File	Rights	Under	

                                                               State and Federal Law” before you sign a contract;
•	 Apply	for	and	open	new	credit	accounts	only	as	
   needed. Don’t open an account just to have a better      •	 A	written	contract	that	spells	out	your	rights	
   credit mix; it probably won’t raise your score.             and obligations;

•	 Pay	off	debt	instead	of	moving	it	around.	Owing	the	     •	 Three	days	to	cancel	without	paying	any	fees.
   same amount, but having fewer open accounts may          Some credit repair companies promise to help you

   lower your score.                                        establish a whole new credit identity. You can be
You don’t rebuild your credit score; you rebuild your       charged with fraud if you use the mail or telephone
credit history. Time is your ally in improving credit.      to apply for credit with false information. It is also

There is no “quick fix” for a bad credit score, so          a federal crime to make false statements on a loan
suspect any deals that offer you a fast, easy solution.     or credit application, to give a false Social Security
                                                            number, or to obtain an Employer Identification

negative credit information                                 Number from the Internal Revenue Service under
in Your credit report                                       false pretences.
                                                            If you have lost money to a credit repair scam, contact

Negative information concerning your use of credit
can be kept in your credit report for seven years. A        your state or local consumer affairs office (p. 130).
bankruptcy can be kept for 10 years, and unpaid tax
liens for 15 years. Information about a lawsuit or an

unpaid judgment against you can be reported for
seven years or until the statute of limitations runs
out, whichever is longer. Inquiries remain on your

report for two years.
Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance,

or a job as a result of a credit report must give you the
name, address, and telephone number of the credit           dealing With deBt

reporting agency that provided the report. Under the        The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right        those who collect debts owed to creditors for
to request a free report within 60 days if a company        personal, family and household debts – these include

denies you credit based on the report.                      car loans, mortgages, charge accounts and money
If there is inaccurate or incomplete information in your    owed for medical bills. A debt collector is someone

credit report:                                              hired to collect money you owe.

     alert: “DeBt relIeF” may Be                                        To file a complaint, contact your state or local
     CoDe For BanKruPtCy                                                consumer protection agency (p. 130) and the Federal
                                                                        Trade Commission (p. 121).
     The Federal Trade Commission cautions
     consumers to read between the lines when                           Out of Control Debt
     faced with ads in newspapers or telephone
     directories that promise debt relief. This                         Counseling services are available to help people
     relief may actually be bankruptcy. Catch                           budget money and pay bills. Credit unions,
     phrases that are commonly used:                                    Cooperative Extension offices, military family service
                                                                        centers and religious organizations are among those
                                                                        that may offer free or low-cost credit counseling.
     “Consolidate your bills into one                                   Local, nonprofit agencies that provide educational
     monthly payment without borrowing.”
                                                                        programs on money management and help in
     “Keep your property.”                                              developing debt payment plans operate under the
                                                                        name Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).
     “Stop credit harassment, foreclosures,                             They are members of the National Foundation for
     repossessions and garnishments.”                                   Credit Counseling (NFCC). See page 167 for contact
                                                                        information to locate the agency closest to you.
     “Wipe out your debts! Consolidate
     your bills!”                                                       Typically, a counseling service will negotiate lower
                                                                        payments with your creditors and then make the
      “Use the protection and assistance                                payments using money you send to them each month.
     provided by federal law. For once let                              The cost of setting up this debt-management plan is
     the law work for you.”                                             paid by the creditor, not you. Ask these questions to
                                                                        find the best counselor for you:
                                                                        •	 What	services	do	you	offer?	Look	for	an	organization	
                                                                           that offers budget counseling and money management
Within five days after a debt collector first contacts                     classes as well as a debt-management plan.
you, the collector must send you a notice that
                                                                        •	 Do	you	offer	free	information?	Avoid	organizations	
tells you the name of the creditor, how much you
owe, and what action to take if you believe you                            that charge for information or make you provide a lot
don’t owe the money.                                                       of details about your problem first.

If you owe the money or part of it, contact the                         •	 What	are	your	fees?	Are	there	set-up	and/or	monthly	
creditor to arrange for payment.                                           fees? A typical set-up fee is $10. If you’re paying a lot
                                                                           more, you could be the one getting set up.
If you believe you don’t owe the money, contact the
creditor in writing and send a copy to the collection                   •	 How	will	the	debt	management	plan	work?	What	
agency with a letter telling them not to contact you.                      debts can be included in the plan and will you get
A debt collector may not:                                                  regular reports on your accounts?
•	 Contact	you	at	unreasonable	times,	for	example,	
   before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree;
•	 Contact	you	at	work	if	you	tell	the	debt	collector	your	
   employer disapproves;                                                     DeBt management aSSIStanCe
•	 Contact	you	after	you	write	a	letter	telling	them	to	                     Several national nonprofit organizations also
   stop, except to notify you if the collector or creditor                   provide information and assist people with debt
   plans to take a specific action;
                                                                             •	 American Consumer Credit Counseling. Visit
•	 Contact	your	friends,	relatives,	employer	or	others,	               or call 800-769-3571.
   except to find out where you live and work;
                                                                             •	 InCharge Institute of America. Visit
•	 Harass	you	through	threats	to	harm	you,	profane	                    or call 1-800-565-8953.
   language or repeated telephone calls;                                     •	 Money	Management	International.	
•	 Make	any	false	statement,	or	claim	that	you	will	
                                                                                or call 1-866-899-9347.
   be arrested;
                                                                             •	 Myvesta.	Visit
•	 Threaten	to	have	money	deducted	from	your	                                   or call 1-800-680-DEBT.
   paycheck or to sue you, unless the collection agency
   or creditor intends to do so and it is legal.

13                                    To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
•	 Ask	if	the	counselor	can	get	creditors	to	lower	or	     •	 Attorneys	must	carefully	review	documents	such	as	

   eliminate interest and fees. If the answer is yes,         tax returns and pay stubs, as well as ask clients for
   contact your creditors to verify this.                     credit reports.

•	 Ask	what	happens	if	you	can’t	afford	to	pay.	If	an	     •	 Attorneys	are	more	apprehensive	about	sanctions.
   organization won’t help you because you can’t afford

   to pay, go somewhere else for help.                     loanS
•	 Will	your	counselor	help	you	avoid	future	problems?	    home equity loans

   Getting a plan for avoiding future debt is as
                                                           A home equity loan could be a smart way to pay
   important as solving the immediate debt problem.        off high-interest debt or pay for home repairs. But
•	 Ask	for	a	contract.	All	verbal	promises	should	be	in	   consider carefully before taking out a home equity

   writing before you pay any money.                       loan. If you are unable to make payments on time,
                                                           you could lose your home.
•	 Are	your	counselors	accredited	or	certified?	
   Legitimate credit counseling firms are affiliated       Home equity loans can either be a revolving line
   with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling      of credit or a lump sum. Revolving credit lets you

                                                           withdraw funds when you need them. A lump sum
   (p. 167) or the Association of Independent Consumer
                                                           is a one-time, closed-end loan for a particular
   Credit Counseling Agencies.

                                                           purpose, such as remodeling or tuition. Apply for a
Check with your local consumer protection agency           home equity loan through a bank or credit union first.
(p. 130) and the Better Business Bureau (p. 65) to see     These loans are likely to cost less than those offered
if any complaints have been filed about the counseling     by finance companies.

service you’re considering.
                                                           Please see the Housing section (p. 21) for helpful
If you have concerns about approved credit                 information about buying, leasing, renting or
counseling agencies or credit counseling providers,        repairing a home.

please contact the U.S. Trustee Program, visit or call 202-514-4100.                    installment loans
                                                           Before you sign an agreement for a loan to buy a

Personal Bankruptcy
                                                           house, a car or other large purchase, make sure you
Bankruptcy generally is considered the debt                fully understand all the lender’s terms and conditions,
management option of last resort because the results       including:

are long lasting and far reaching. The Bankruptcy
                                                           •	 The	dollar	amount	you	are	borrowing;
Abuse and Prevention Act of 2005 established more
stringent rules for consumers and attorneys.               •	 The	payment	amounts	and	when	they	are	due;

The filing process may be difficult for debtors:
•	 Debtors	must	file	documents	including	itemized	           PayDay anD taX reFunD loanS

   statements of monthly net income, proof of income
                                                             Payday loans are illegal in some states. Recent
   (pay stubs) for the last 60 days, and tax returns for
                                                             changes in the law for payday lenders have also
   the preceding year (four years for Chapter 13).           made payday loans illegal for members of the

•	 Debtors	must	take	a	pre-filing	credit	counseling	         military. With a typical payday loan, you might
                                                             write a personal check for $115 to borrow $100 for
   and post-filing education course to have debts
                                                             two weeks, until payday. The annual percentage

                                                             rate (APR) in this example is 390 percent! If you
•	 Debtors	face	increased	filing	fees,	plus	fees	for	        can repay the loan quickly, it may not appear such
   credit counseling/education.                              a bad deal. But if you can’t pay off the loan quickly,
                                                             that relatively small loan can grow into a large

•	 The	bankruptcy	petition	and	process	are	more	             amount of debt. At 390 percent, a $100 loan will
   complicated, so it’s very difficult to file without       become $490 in a year and $2,401 in two years.
   an attorney.

                                                             Another high cost way to borrow money is a tax
                                                             refund loan. This type of credit lets you get an

The filing process for lawyers:                              advance on a tax refund – for a fee. APRs as high
                                                             as 774% have been reported. If you are short of
•	 An	attorney’s	signature	on	a	petition	certifies	that	     cash, avoid both of these loans by asking for more

   the attorney has performed reasonable investigation       time to pay a bill or seeking a traditional loan. Even
   into circumstances giving rise to the petition.           a cash advance on your credit card may cost less.

•	 The	total	finance	charge,	including	all	interest	
                                                                      DIPloma mIllS
   and fees you must pay to get the loan;                             If you’re ever tempted by an e-mail or ad claiming
                                                                      you can “earn a degree based on life experience,”
•	 The	Annual	Percentage	Rate	(APR),	the	rate	of	                     don’t fall for it. Any company that offers degrees
   interest you will pay over the full term of the loan;              for a flat fee and requires little course work is a
                                                                      diploma mill. If your school is not recognized as an
•	 Penalties	for	late	payments;                                       accredited institution by the Secretary of Education,
•	 What	the	lender	will	do	if	you	can’t	pay	back	the	loan;            you may not be able to receive financial aid and
                                                                      employers won’t recognize it. To check on a school’s
•	 Penalties	if	you	pay	the	loan	back	early.                          accreditation by the Department of Education, visit
The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to give you        or search the
this information so you can compare different offers.                 Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s
                                                                      database at

     FinanCing YoUr EdUCaTion                                       •	 Work Study. The Federal Work-Study Program
                                                                       (FWS) is a federally funded source of financial
PaYing for college 101                                                 assistance used to offset financial education costs.
                                                                       Students who qualify earn money by working on
There’s no way around it. A college education is
expensive, especially if you or your child goes to a                   campus while attending school. The money does not
private school. How much it will cost depends on the                   have to be repaid.
school you choose. Once you’ve narrowed your choice                 •	 Loans. Funds that are borrowed and must be repaid
of schools, contact them to find out how much the                      with interest. As a general rule, educational loans
total cost will be and what scholarships and financial                 have more favorable terms and interest rates than
aid are available.                                                     traditional consumer loans.
High schools often hold free seminars on choosing
                                                                    •	 Scholarships. Offered by the school, local/
and paying for college. Another source of information
                                                                       community organizations, private institutions and
on financial assistance from both private and
government sources is This site also                   trusts, scholarships do not have to be repaid and
offers calculators that can help you figure out how                    are generally awarded based on specific criteria.
much school will cost, how much you need to save,
and how much aid you will need.
Many	state	governments	have	created	programs	
to make it easier for families to save for
the education of their children. Visit                                           FeDeral StuDent aID for links to                                              Many	helpful	publications	are	available	at	
information on the various state                                        or you can
programs, such as 529 plans.                                                     call 1-800-433-3243.
Student financial aid                                                                            The federal government’s direct loan
                                                                                                 website includes a servicing center.
Student Financial Aid is available from
a wide variety of sources including
                                                                                                 The U.S. Department of Labor’s
the federal government, individual                                                               Occupational Outlook Handbook
states, directly from colleges and                                                               provides information on various
universities, as well as from numerous                                                           careers and their earning potential.
other public and private agencies and
organizations. Whatever the source,                                                              The U.S. Department of Education
all forms of college aid fall into four                                                          offers several financial aid guides
basic categories:                                                                                for consumers.
•	 Grants. Gift aid that does not                                                      
   have to be repaid and is generally                                                            The National Association
   awarded according to financial                                                                of Student Financial Aid
                                                                                                 Administrators provides a “Cash
                                                                                                 for College Guide” with advice,
                                                                                                 tips and information on financing
                                                                                                 your education.

15                                To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
Federal Student Aid Information Center

The Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)
can answer your federal student financial aid

questions and can give you all the help you need for
free. You can also use the FSAIC automated response
system to find out if your Free Application for Federal

Student Aid (FAFSA) application has been processed
and to request a copy of your Student Aid Report

(SAR). For FSAIC contact information, see page 111.


Times have changed with job-searching, and there are
numerous websites now available that post jobs for

private	industry.	Many	companies	also	offer	a	way	to	
apply online. However, these sites and new methods

do not replace traditional and proven job-hunting              eMPloYMent agencieS
approaches such as networking, personal contacts,
business organizations and interviewing.                       If you’re looking for a job, you may come across ads
                                                               from employment agencies that promise wonderful

                                                               opportunities. While some companies honestly want
                                                               to help you, others are more interested in taking your
                                                               money. Be wary of:

  BeWare: SCHolarSHIP anD                                      •	 Promises	to	get	you	a	job	and	a	guaranteed	income;

  FInanCIal aID SCamS                                          •	 Upfront	fees,	even	when	you	are	guaranteed	a	
                                                                  refund if you are dissatisfied;

  Scholarships and financial aid do not require upfront
  fees. While there are legitimate companies who               •	 Employment	agencies	whose	ads	read	like	job	ads;
  will help guide you through the financial aid and            •	 Promotions	of	“previously	undisclosed”	government	

  college application process for a fee, disreputable
                                                                  jobs. All federal jobs are announced to the public at
  companies may ask you for money up-front and
  provide nothing in return. Red flags to watch out for 
  include the following:

                                                               Get a copy of the employment agency contract and
  A “money-back guarantee” to secure a scholarship.            review it carefully before you pay any money. Check
  Don’t believe it. Unscrupulous companies attach              with your local consumer protection agency (p. 130)

  conditions that make it impossible to get the refund.        and the Better Business Bureau (p. 65) to see if any
  “Secret scholarships.” If a company claims to have           complaints have been filed about a company.
  inside knowledge of scholarship money, they’re               The Federal Trade Commission (p. 121) sues

  lying. Information on scholarships is available freely       businesses that fraudulently advertise employment
  to the public. Ask your librarian or school counselor.       openings and guarantee job placement. Contact the
  Telling students they’ve been selected as “finalists”        FTC if you have a complaint.

  for awards. If they ask for an up-front fee, head for
  the nearest exit.
                                                               Work-at-hoMe coMPanieS
  Asking for a student’s checking account to “confirm
  eligibility.” If they want bank account information          Not all work-at-home opportunities deliver on their

  or your credit card number to confirm or reserve a           promises. Some classic work-at-home schemes are
  scholarship, it’s a scam.                                    medical billing, envelope stuffing and assembly or

  Quoting a relatively small “monthly” or “weekly” fee.        craftwork. Ads for these businesses say, “Be part
  Then asking for authorization to debit your checking         of one of America’s Fastest Growing Industries.

  account for an unspecified length of time. Ongoing           Earn thousands of dollars a month from your home!”
  fees are a sure sign of a scam.                              Legitimate work-at-home program sponsors should
                                                               tell you, in writing, what’s involved in the program

  Unsolicited offers. Whether it’s an e-mail, phone
  call, or it arrived in your mailbox, if you didn’t request   they are selling. Here are some questions you might
  the information, ignore the offer.                           ask a promoter:

                                                                 •	 What	is	the	company’s	track	record?
                                                                 •	 What	products	does	it	sell?
                                                                 •	 Does	it	sell	products	to	the	public-at-large?
                                                                 •	 Does	it	have	the	evidence	to	back	up	the	claims	
                                                                    it makes about its product?
                                                                 •	 Is	the	product	competitively	priced?
                                                                 •	 Is	it	likely	to	appeal	to	a	large	customer	base?
                                                                 •	 How	much	does	it	cost	to	join	the	plan?
                                                                 •	 Are	monthly	minimum	sales	required	to	earn	
                                                                    a commission?
                                                                 •	 Will	you	be	required	to	recruit	new	distributors	to	
                                                                    earn your commission?

                                                                 Net-Based Business Opportunities
                                                                 The Federal Trade Commission says that many
                                                                 Internet business opportunities are scams that
                                                                 promise more than they can possibly deliver. The
                                                                 companies lure would-be entrepreneurs with false
                                                                 promises of big earnings for little effort. Some tips to
•	 What	tasks	will	I	have	to	perform?	(Ask	the	
                                                                 finding a legitimate opportunity:
   program sponsor to list every step of the job.)
                                                                 •	 Consider	the	promotion	carefully.	
•	 Will	I	be	paid	a	salary	or	will	my	pay	be	based	
   on commission?                                                •	 Study	the	business	opportunity’s	franchise	
                                                                    disclosure document.
•	 Who	will	pay	me?
                                                                 •	 Get	earnings	claims	in	writing	and	compare	them	
•	 When	will	I	get	my	first	paycheck?
                                                                    with the experience of previous franchise and
•	 What	is	the	total	cost	of	the	work-at	home	program,	             business opportunity owners.
   including supplies, equipment and membership
                                                                 •	 Visit	previous	franchise	and	business	opportunity	
   fees? What will I get for my money?
                                                                    owners in person, preferably at their place of business.
The answers to these questions may help you determine
whether a work-at-home program is appropriate for your           •	 Check	out	the	company	with	the	local	consumer	
circumstances and whether it is legitimate.                         protection agency (p. 130) and Better Business
                                                                    Bureau (p. 65). See if there is any record of
Multi-Level Marketing                                               complaints.
Some multilevel marketing plans are legitimate.                  •	 If	the	business	opportunity	involves	selling	products	
However, others are illegal pyramid schemes. In                     from well-known companies, verify the relationship
pyramids, commissions are based on the number                       with the legal department of the company whose
of	distributors	recruited.	Most	of	the	product	sales	
                                                                    merchandise would be promoted.
are made to these distributors, not to consumers in
general. The underlying goods and services, which                •	 Consult	an	attorney,	accountant	or	other	business	advisor	
vary from vitamins to car leases, serve only to make                before you put any money down or sign any papers.
the	schemes	look	legitimate.	Most	people	end	up	with	
                                                                 •	 Take	your	time.	Promoters	of	fraudulent	business	
nothing to show for their money except the expensive
                                                                    opportunities are likely to use high-pressure
products or marketing materials they were pressured
to buy.                                                             sales tactics to get you to buy in. If the business
                                                                    opportunity is legitimate, it will still be around when
If you’re thinking about joining what appears to be a               you’re ready to decide.
legitimate multilevel marketing plan, take time to learn
about the plan.

17                             To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
 Food and nUTriTion

healthY food choiceS

To help you make healthy food choices, the federal

government posts dietary guidelines at
gov/dietaryguidelines. Federal regulations also require
many foods to identify fat content, fiber and nutrients

on their labels.

food SafetY

Food safety in the home revolves around three main
functions: food storage, food handling and cooking.
Most	experts	agree	that	practicing	a	few	simple	rules	
focused on cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling

can prevent most food borne illness in the home.
The website is your gateway

to government food safety information, including
publications you can download or request. You can
also visit for the latest food safety
alerts and recalls.

For more information, here are some additional

•	 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (p. 112);      Weight loSS
•	 FDA’s Food Information and Seafood Hotline                The only proven way to help you lose weight is to
   1-800-332-4010;                                           burn more calories than you consume. If you need

•	 Partnership	for	Food	Safety	Education	at	                 to lose weight, talk with your doctor about the
                                                             options	that	are	best	for	you.	Most	health	experts, the online resource for Fight
                                                             agree that the best and safest way to lose weight is

   BAC! With food safety and safe food handling
                                                             to modestly cut calories, eat a balanced diet, and
   information;                                              exercise. People usually do best when they reduce
•	 U.S.	Department	of	Health	and	Human	Services	             their usual calorie intake or increase the calories

   (p. 111);                                                 they use by 500–1,000 per day. This allows you to eat
                                                             enough for good nutrition yet lose about one to two
•	 USDA	Food Safety and Inspection Service,                  pounds a week. Steer clear of harmful tactics such

                                                                                                                          Identity;                                        as smoking, fasting, purging, or abusing laxatives.
•	 USDA	Meat	and	Poultry	Hotline	1-888-674-6854.             Avoid fad diets and other weight loss programs that

                                                             promise fast results or limit your food choices. Ask
                                                             yourself the following:

  FooD For tHougHt                                           •	 How	does	the	product	or	service	work?	Does	the	

                                                                program emphasize diet, exercise or a combination
  Check out these resources for advice, tips and                of both?
  education on food shopping and nutrition:
               •	 U.S.	Department	of	Agriculture	(p.	106);   •	 How	much	will	it	cost?	Ask	for	an	itemized	list	that	

                                                                includes membership fees and fees for weekly
               •	 The	Food	and	Drug	Administration	
                  (p. 112);
                                                                visits. Ask if there are extra fees for diagnostic
                                                                tests, food, dietary supplements, or other products

               •	(;
                                                                in the program.

               •	 MedlinePlus	(Click	on	F	for	Food	or	
                  N for Nutrition at        •	 How	well	does	it	work?	Ask	to	see	the	studies	that	
                  medlineplus);                                 back up success claims. Look for how many people

               •	 The	Nutrition	Source	(www.hsph.               completed the program, how much weight they
                          lost, and how long they kept the weight off.

                                                                      Intelihealth ( offers
     Be InFormeD: rISKS oF WeIgHt                                     information and advice from the Harvard
                                                                      Medical	School.
     loSS Surgery
                                                                      HealthMetrix Research, Inc.
     Surgical procedures for weight loss should be
                                                                      ( offers a quick
     considered carefully and only after you and a doctor have
     looked at all the options. Risks and complications include
                                                                      reference to programs available in your local area.
     bleeding, deep vein thrombosis, infections, marginal             Mayo Clinic ( offers an index
     ulcers, pulmonary problems, spleen injury, stenosis,             of diseases and much more.
     vomiting, dumping syndrome, nutritional deficiencies,
     gallstones and even death. It is NOT cosmetic surgery.           Medical Library Association (
     The National Institutes of Health has helpful information        links to websites suggested by librarians.
     and has set minimum requirements for recommending                Mental Help Net ( links to a
     these types of surgery, along with other important               broad range of mental health topics.
     information, at

                                                                      chooSing a doctor
•	 What	are	the	risks?	Get	details	about	possible	side	               When searching for a doctor, dentist or other
   effects. Check with your doctor before you take                    healthcare professional:
   prescriptions, over-the-counter weight loss drugs,                 •	 Find	out	whether	they	are	licensed	in	your	state.	
   or dietary supplements. Diets that require drastic                    A state or local occupational and professional
   food restriction should be under the supervision of                   licensing board will be able to give you this
   a physician.                                                          information (p. 130).
•	 How	many	calories	will	you	eat	each	day?	For	diets	                •	 Research	whether	they	are	board-certified	in	the	
   under 1500 calories, be sure to check with your                       appropriate specialty. Visit and
   doctor to make sure you get all your nutrients.              for more information.
•	 What	are	the	staff	qualifications?	Ask	about	their	                •	 Ask	how	often	they	have	done	the	procedure	you	
   training and experience.                                              need and their success rate. You may be able to
•	 What	type	of	attention	will	you	receive?	Will	you	get	                find some of this information on the Internet. For
   individual counseling or group support? How often?                    example, the Center for Disease Control reports the
                                                                         success rates and number of procedures performed
Complaints concerning fraudulent weight loss claims
should be directed to the Federal Trade Commission                       by fertility clinics at Some states
(p. 121).                                                                collect and post data on the success of heart-bypass
                                                                      •	 Check	whether	there	have	been	any	complaints	or	
     hEaLTh CarE                                                         disciplinary actions taken. Visit and
                                                                for more information.
For information on healthcare plans, see page 27.                        There are also pay-for-use sites with similar
                                                                         information including,
Thousands of resources are now available to help
                                                               , and
you make health care decisions. Be wary of websites
sponsored by companies that are trying to sell you a                  Visit for more advice on
particular treatment. It’s better to contact reputable                identifying providers.
associations or visit sites run by government agencies
and	recognized	organizations	such	as	the	Mayo	Clinic	                 Filing A Complaint
or the American	Medical	Association	(AMA).	This	                      If you have a complaint about the medical services you
information should complement, not replace, what                      received from a physician, you may file a complaint
you receive from a doctor. Here are some sites that are               with	your	State	Medical	Board.	For	a	complete	
generally recognized as reliable information sources:                 directory	from	the	Federation	of	State	Medical	Boards,, and                                 visit You can also
MedlinePlus ( provide                             call the Federation at 817-868-4000 to get the phone
information on health issues, health care programs,                   number of your state medical board.
and organizations.

19                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
chooSing a healthcare facilitY

Report cards on the Internet can help you compare
                                                               eXamIne your loCal
health care facilities. Three private websites that rate       meDICal FaCIlItIeS

hospitals	based	on	information	collected	from	Medicare	
                                                               Get statistics on medical
records and other sources are,                  facilities at these sources:

                                                                                                                                 Credit, and
                                                      – is a free
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare            on-line query system that provides
Organizations (JCAHO) accredits hospitals, as well

                                                               access to health statistics and information on
as nursing homes and other health care organizations.          hospital stays at the national, regional, and state level.
Specially trained investigators assess whether these  – offers information on health
organizations meet set standards. At,            facilities in your area and health by age group.

you can check on a local facility, including how it
                                                      – is the website of the American
compares with others. JCAHO also accepts consumer
                                                               Hospital Association.
complaints. You can post a complaint on its website or
call 1-800-994-6610.                                  – links to a public interest
                                                               organization that provides information on medical

If you are looking for a nursing home or other assisted        board disciplinary actions.
living facility, these organizations can help.

•	 Nursing Home Compare, operated by the U.S.
   Department of Health and Human Services, will             PreScriPtion drugS
   help you compare the facilities in many states. Go
                                                             Pharmacies may charge widely different prices

   to or call            for the same medicine, so it is a good idea to
   1-800-MEDICARE	(633-4227).                                comparison shop.
•	 Eldercare Locator ( provides

                                                             •	 Ask	your	physician	and	pharmacist	if	a	generic	drug	
   information and referral services for those seeking          may be appropriate. Generics usually cost less than
   local and state support resources for the elderly.           brand	name	drugs.	Many	insurance	companies	use	a	
   See page 112.                                                multi-tier co-payment plan for prescription drugs. Be

•	 The	American Association of Homes and Services               sure to ask before filling the prescription.
   for the Aging ( is a trade group that       •	 Consider	using	a	mail-order	or	online	pharmacy,	

   represents many nonprofit facilities (p. 164).               especially if you will be taking a drug for a long time.
•	 The	Assisted Living Federation of America                    They often charge less.
   ( represents both for-profit and non-        An increasing number of consumers are replacing a

   profit assisted-living facilities. Phone: 703-691-8100.   trip to the pharmacy with a trip on the Internet. While
•	 The	Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation         there are online pharmacies that provide legitimate
                                                             prescription services, there are also some questionable

   Facilities ( gives its seal of approval to
                                                             sites that make buying medicines online risky. Do
   qualifying facilities. Phone: 1-888-281-6531.
                                                             business only with a licensed U.S. pharmacy. Check

                                                             with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
                                                             to determine if the site is licensed and in good
                                                             standing. Visit or call 847-698-6227.

                                                             An online pharmacy should offer you access to a
                                                             registered pharmacist who can answer any questions
                                                             you might have about drug interactions, side effects
                                                             and other safety precautions. Be wary of sites that:

                                                             •	 Sell	drugs	without	a	prescription;
                                                             •	 Sell	drugs	not	approved	by	the	FDA;

                                                             •	 Advertise	quick	cures;

                                                             •	 Tell	stories	of	“amazing	results.”
                                                             If you suspect a site is not a licensed pharmacy,

                                                             report it and any complaints to the U.S. Food and
                                                             Drug Administration (p. 112) at


Want to know the side effects of a particular                      •	 Real	estate	agents represent the seller, not the
medication? Curious whether a drug has been                           buyer. Consider hiring a buyer’s agent who works
approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration?                    for you, not the seller.
For answers to these questions and other information
on approved prescription, over-the-counter and                     •	 Get	prices	on	other	homes.	Knowing	the	price	of	
discontinued drugs, visit                     other homes in a neighborhood will help you avoid
scripts/cder/drugsatfda. For general drug information,                paying too much.
you can also contact the FDA (p. 112).                             •	 Have	the	property	inspected.	Use	a	licensed	home	
                                                                      inspector to carefully inspect the property before
Medicare PreScriPtion                                                 agreeing to buy it.
drug coverage
Medicare	offers	prescription	drug	coverage	to	help	
                                                                   When shopping for a home mortgage, make sure you
you get the prescription drugs you need. Everyone
                                                                   obtain all of the relevant information:
with	Medicare	can	join	a	drug plan to get this
coverage. If you aren’t sure if a drug plan is approved            •	 Research	current	interest rates. Check the real
by	Medicare,	call	1-800-MEDICARE	(1-800-633-4227).	                   estate section of your local newspaper, use the
All drug plans approved by Medicare	may	use	this	seal	                Internet, or call at least six lenders for information.
on their materials:
                                                                   •	 Check	the	rates	for	30-year,	20-year	and	15-year	
                                                                      mortgages. You may be able to save thousands of
                                                                      dollars in interest charges by getting the shortest-
                                                                      term mortgage you can afford.
Like other insurance, if you decide not to enroll in a             •	 Ask	for	details	on	the	same	loan	amount,	loan	
drug plan when you are first eligible, you may pay a                  term, and type of loan from multiple lenders so
penalty if you choose to join later. If you have limited              that you can compare the information. Be sure
income and resources, you may get extra help to cover
                                                                      to get the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which
prescription drugs for little or no cost.
                                                                      takes into account not only the interest rate but
For more information, contact the Centers for                         also points, broker fees, and other credit charges
Medicare	and	Medicaid	Services	(p.	112).	                             expressed as a yearly rate.
                                                                   •	 Ask	whether	the	rate	is	fixed	or	adjustable.	The	

     hoUsing                                                          interest rate on adjustable rate mortgage loans
                                                                      (ARMs)	can	vary	a	great	deal	over	the	lifetime	of	
                                                                      the mortgage. An increase of several percentage
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban                              points might raise payments by hundreds of dollars
Development (HUD, p. 114) funds housing counseling                    per month.
agencies throughout the country. These organizations
can give you advice on buying a home, renting,                     •	 If	a	loan	has	an	adjustable	rate,	ask	when	and	how	
defaults, foreclosures, credit issues and reverse                     the rate and loan payment could change.
mortgages. To contact the agency nearest you, call                 •	 Find	out	how	much	down	payment	is	required.	
1-800-569-4287 or visit Homeowners
                                                                      Some lenders require 20 percent of the home’s
with problems that could result in default of their
                                                                      purchase price as a down payment. But many
mortgage or foreclosure on their property are
encouraged to contact a HUD-approved housing                          lenders now offer loans that require less. In these
counseling agency immediately.                                        cases, you may be required to purchase private
                                                                      mortgage	insurance	(PMI)	to	protect	the	lender	if	
If, in your housing search, you believe you are being
                                                                      you fall behind on payments.
discriminated against on the basis of your race, color,
nationality, religion, sex, familial status, or disability,        •	 If	PMI	is	required,	ask	what	the	total	cost	of	the	
contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing (p. 114).                        insurance will be. How much will the monthly
                                                                      mortgage	payment	be	when	the	PMI	premium	is	
BuYing a hoMe                                                         added and how long you will be required to carry
Buying a home is one of the most complex financial
decisions you’ll ever make. In addition to the financial           •	 Ask	if	you	can	pay	off	the	loan	early	and	if	there	
and legal issues involved, real estate agents and                     is a penalty for doing so.
lenders may not be acting in your best interests.

21                               To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                                      For more information on reverse mortgages, check the

 BeWare: DouBle DIPPIng                                               directory for the following resources:
 If you’re working with a broker, the National Consumer               •	 The	Federal	Trade	Commission	(p.	121);
 Law Center (p. 128) recommends you demand to know

 how much the broker is making from the lender as well                •	 The	Department	of	Housing	and	Urban	
 as from any fees you might be paying. It’s best to get                  Development (p. 114) ;

 this information upfront and in writing. Avoid a broker              •	 AARP	(p.	125);
 who is double-dipping — getting a fat premium from
 the lender, as well as fees from you.                                The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

                                                                      requires lenders to give you information on all closing
                                                                      costs and escrow account practices. Any business
There is a long list of sources for mortgages loans:                  relationships between the lender and closing service

mortgage banks, mortgage brokers, banks, thrifts and                  providers or other parties to the transaction must
credit unions, home builders, real estate agencies and
Internet lenders.

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan

for homeowners over the age of 62 that lets you
convert the equity in your home into cash. The
homeowner does not have to pay back the loan and
interest for as long as you live in your home. The

loan and interest is repaid only when the homeowner
dies, sells their home or permanently moves out of
their home. These mortgages can help homeowners

who are house-rich, but cash-poor, stay in their
homes and meet their financial needs.
There are three types of reverse mortgages:

federally-insured reverse mortgages, proprietary
reverse mortgages and single-purpose reverse
mortgages. As with any mortgage it is important

to be a savvy consumer and shop for the best deal.

                             Fixed rate and adjustable-rate mortgages are the two main types of mortgages, but
                             there is a wide variety of other mortgage products available. Below are pros and cons
      type of                of just a few of the mortgage products you may want to consider.

                                                   Pros                                                cons

                             No surprises . The interest rate stays the same      If interest rates fall, you could be stuck paying
Fixed-rate mortgage
                             over the entire term, usually 15, 20 or 30 years .   a higher rate .
                                                                                  After an initial period, rates fluctuate over the
Adjustable-rate	(ARM)	or	    Usually offers a lower initial rate of interest

                                                                                  life of the loan . When interest rates rise,
variable-rate mortgage       than fixed-rate loans .
                                                                                  generally so do your loan payments .
FHA (Federal Housing         Allows buyers who may not qualify for a home
                                                                                  The size of your loan may be limited .
Administration) loan         loan to obtain one . Low down payment .

                             Guaranteed loans for eligible veterans, active
VA loan                      duty personnel and surviving spouses . Offers        The size of your loan may be limited .

                             competitive rates, low or no down payments .

                             Usually a fixed rate loan with relatively low        After an initial period, the entire balance of
Balloon mortgage             payments for a certain period of time                the loan is due immediately . This type of loan
                             (about 5-7 years) .                                  is risky .

                             Borrower pays only the interest on the loan,         After an initial period, the balance of the loan is
Interest-only                in monthly payments, for a fixed term                due . This usually means much higher payments,
                             (about 5-7 years) .                                  paying a lump sum or refinancing .

also	be	disclosed.	Many	of	the	fees	are	negotiable.	
More	information	is	available	from	the	Federal	Trade	
Commission (p. 121), the Federal Reserve Board
(p. 121), and the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (p. 114).
For more information on home buying and mortgages,
visit or, or call
Fannie	Mae	at	1-800-732-6643	(consumer	resources).	
The Mortgage	Bankers	Association	has	more	
information at
Additional advice, resources and tips for homeowners
can be found under Home Equity Loans (p. 14),
Insurance (p. 26) and Home Repairs (p. 24).

avoiding forecloSure
If you miss your mortgage payments, foreclosure may
occur. This is the legal means your lender can use
to repossess your home. If you owe more than your
property is worth, a deficiency judgment is pursued.
Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments have
a negative impact on your future credit. You should
avoid foreclosure if at all possible.

                                                                       These steps can help:
     mortgage reFInanCIng                                              •	 Do	not	ignore	the	letters	from	your	lender.		If	you’re	
     Consider refinancing your mortgage if you can get                    having problems making your payments, call or
     a rate that is at least one percentage point lower                   write	to	your	lender’s	Loss	Mitigation	Department	
     than your existing mortgage rate and if you plan                     without delay. Explain your situation. Be prepared
     to keep the new mortgage for several years. When
                                                                          to provide them with financial information, such as
     comparing mortgages, don’t forget to include the
     extra fees you must pay for the new mortgage. You                    your monthly income and expenses. Without this
     may be able to get some fees waived if you are able                  information, they may not be able to help.
     to refinance with your current mortgage holder.
                                                                       •	 Stay	in	your	home	for	now.	You	may	not	qualify	
                                                                          for assistance if you abandon your property. For
     BeFore CHooSIng a lenDer, Do your reSearCH:                          example, the Hope for Homeowners program
     Get recommendations: Ask friends and family                          only offers 30-year fixed rate mortgages to owner
     members for suggestions, especially if they’ve                       occupiers.
     recently obtained a loan.
                                                                       •	 Contact	a	HUD-approved	housing	counselor.	
     Check	credentials:	Mortgage	bankers	are	regulated	
     by either your state’s department of banking                         Call 1-800-569-4287 or TDD 1-800-877-8339 for the
     or division of real estate. Check with the one                       housing counseling agency nearest you. These
     appropriate to your state to see if a lender is in good              agencies are valuable resources.
     professional	standing.	Mortgage	brokers	may	be	
     state regulated or not. If not, check with the local              •		Contact	the	Hope Now Alliance. Call
     chapter	of	the	National	Association	of	Mortgage	                     1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to talk to a HUD-approved
     Brokers or the Better Business Bureau to see if their                credit counselor who will guide you through your
     record is clean.                                                     options for free.
     Do your homework: Learn about typical mortgages                   They frequently have information on services and
     and ask a question when something looks amiss; a                  programs offered by government agencies as well as
     broker may be trying to pad closing costs or other                private and community organizations that could help
     fees at your expense.
                                                                       you. The housing counseling agency may also offer
     Take care online: There are plenty of attractive deals            credit counseling. These services are usually free
     online, but first make sure you’re dealing with a                 of charge.
     reliable broker or lender.

23                                   To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
For more information, resources are available at the        hoMe iMProveMent and rePairS

following agencies:
                                                            Home improvements and repairs can cost thousands
•	 The	U.S.	Department	of	Housing	and	Urban	                of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints.

   Development (p. 114)                                     When selecting a contractor:
•	 The	Federal Trade Commission (p. 121)                    •	 Get	recommendations	and	references.	Talk	to	

Additional advice, resources and tips for homeowners           friends, family and others who have used the
can be found under Home Equity Loans (p. 14),                  contractor for similar work.

Insurance (p. 26), and Home Repairs (p. 24).                •	 Get	at	least	three	written	estimates.	Insist	the	
                                                               contractors come to your home to evaluate what
Moving coMPanieS                                               needs to be done. Be sure the estimates are based

Not all moving companies are the same. Although                on the same work so that you can make meaningful
many are legitimate, there are some who attempt to             comparisons.
take advantage of their clients. Follow these guidelines    •	 Check	contractor	complaint	records with your state
to help you choose the right mover:                            or local consumer protection agency (p. 130) or

Get a written estimate from several movers. Be                 Better Business Bureau (p. 65).
wary of very low estimates. Some companies use

                                                            •		Make	sure	the	contractor	meets	licensing	and	
the low price to get a contract and later ask for more
                                                               registration requirements. Your state or local
money before they will remove your belongings from
their truck.                                                   consumer protection agency (p. 130) can help you
                                                               find out what the necessary requirements are.

Make sure the mover has an operating license.
For moves from one state to another, visit                  •	 Get	the	names	of	suppliers	and	ask	if	the to verify a mover’s license.           contractor makes timely payments.

For moves within a state, check your state, county or       •	 Contact	your	local	building	inspection	department	
local consumer affairs agency (p. 130).
                                                               to check for permit and inspection requirements.
Make sure the mover has insurance. If furniture                Be wary if the contractor asks you to get the

is damaged during the move, the mover’s insurance              permit; it could mean the firm is not licensed.
should cover it. Ask how to file a complaint if there are
limits to the coverage.                                     •	 Be	sure	your	contractor	is	insured.	They	should	

                                                               have personal liability, property damage and
Check the mover’s track record. Contact your state
                                                               worker’s compensation insurance for workers and
or local consumer protection agency (p. 130) or Better
                                                               subcontractors. Also check with your insurance
Business Bureau (p. 65) to see if there is a history of
                                                               company to find out if you are covered for any

                                                               injury or damage that might occur.
If you have a dispute with a moving company, you can
file a complaint	with	the	Federal	Motor	Carrier	Safety	     •	 Insist	on	a	written	contract	that	states	exactly	what	

Administration by calling 1-800-832-5660 or by visiting        work will be done, the quality of materials that will                                             be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any

                                                               subcontractors, the total price of the job, and the
                                                               schedule of payments.
   HoPe For HomeoWnerS                                      •	 Try	to	limit	your	down	payment.	Some	states	have	

   The Hope for Homeowners program enables                     laws limiting the amount of down payment required.
   qualified borrowers to refinance into FHA-insured
   mortgages offering 30-year fixed rates. In addition,     •	 Understand	your	payment	options.	Compare	the	
   banks must write down the existing mortgage to              cost of getting your own loan versus contractor

   90 percent of the new appraised value of the home.          financing.
         For more information, visit or
           call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
                                                            •	 Don’t	make	a	final	payment	or	sign	a	final	release	

                                                               until you are satisfied with the work and know that
                                                               subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.

                                                               Some state laws allow unpaid subcontractors and
                                                               suppliers to put a lien on your home for bills the

                                                               contractor failed to pay.

                                                                 renting / leaSing
                                                                 A lease is an agreement that outlines the obligations
                                                                 of the owner and the tenants of a house or apartment.
                                                                 It is a legally binding document that courts will
                                                                 generally uphold in legal proceedings, so it is
                                                                 important for you to know the exact terms of the lease
                                                                 agreement before you sign it. Some things to look for
                                                                 in a lease:
                                                                 •	 Clauses	that	allow	the	landlord	to	change	the	terms	
                                                                    of the lease after it is signed;
                                                                 •	 Requirements	/	responsibilities	of	the	tenants	to	do	
                                                                    routine repairs such as lawn maintenance, cleaning
                                                                    or notification of repairs;
                                                                 •	 Restrictions	that	would	prevent	you	from	living	
                                                                    normally or comfortably in the home;
                                                                 •	 Term	of	the	lease	and	any	important	dates	such	as	
                                                                    when the rent is due, or garbage pickup days.
                                                                 Read the lease carefully and discuss anything you
                                                                 don’t understand or issues you might have. All
                                                                 landlord responsibilities should be clearly stated.
                                                                 Always get a copy of the signed lease to keep in your
•	 Pay	by	credit card when you can. You may have the             records. Any clause or terms in the agreement affects
                                                                 ALL parties who sign.
   right to withhold payment to the credit card company
   until problems are corrected, (see page 11.)                  Tenants who lease or rent property are protected by
                                                                 The Fair Housing Act. If you think your rights have
Be especially cautious if the contractor:                        been violated, you may write a letter or telephone the
                                                                 HUD office nearest you (p. 114). You have one year
•	 Comes	door-to-door	or	seeks	you	out;                          after the alleged violation to file a complaint with
•	 Just	happens	to	have	material	left	over	from	                 HUD, but you should file as soon as possible.
   a recent job;                                                 Each state has its own tenant rights, laws and
                                                                 protections. For a state-by-state directory, visit
•	 Tells	you	the	job	will	be	a	“demonstration;”
                                                        You can also find public housing
•	 Offers	you	discounts	for	finding	other	customers;             that is available at The agency
•	 Quotes a price that’s out of line with other estimates;       (p. 114) offers several housing assistance programs
                                                                 for tenants and landlords, as well as information on
•	 Pressures	you	for	an	immediate	decision;                      rights of residents and displaced tenants.
•	 Can	only	be	reached	by	leaving	messages	with	
                                                                 Ten Tips for Renters
   an answering service;
                                                                  1. The best way to win over a prospective landlord
•	 Drives	an	unmarked	van;
                                                                     is to be prepared by bringing a completed rental
•	 Has	out-of	state	license	plates;                                  application; written references from previous
•	 Asks	you	to	pay	for	the	entire	job	up	front.                      landlords, employers, friends and colleagues;
                                                                     and a current copy of your credit report with you.
With most home improvements, federal law gives you
three business days to cancel without penalty. See:               2. Carefully review all the important conditions of
3-Day Cooling-Off Rule (p. 40). Of course, you would                 the tenancy before you sign.
be liable for any benefit already received. State laws
                                                                  3. To avoid disputes or misunderstandings with
may also provide some protection. And remember, if
                                                                     your landlord, get it in writing.
you finance home improvements with a home equity
loan and don’t make your payments, you could lose                 4. Ask about your privacy rights before you sign
your home. See Home Equity Loans (p. 14).                            the lease.

25                             To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
5. Know your rights to live in a habitable rental

   unit – and don’t give them up.
                                                            BeWare: InSuranCe FrauD
6. Keep communication open with your landlord.              •	 When	shopping	for	insurance	on	the	Internet,	

7. Purchase renters’ insurance to cover your                   check that the website is secure (p. 39). Look for
   valuables.                                                  the lock icon, a URL that begins “https:” and never

                                                               provide personal data if you don’t trust the site.
	8.	 Make	sure	the	security	deposit	refund	
                                                            •		 Be	wary	of	people	selling	insurance	door-to-door	
     procedures are spelled out in your lease or                and over the telephone.

     rental agreement.
                                                            •	 Be	suspicious	if,	after	an	accident,	a	stranger	
9. Learn whether your building and neighborhood                contacts you to offer “quick cash” or
   are safe, and what you can expect your landlord             recommends a particular attorney or health

                                                               care provider. Report the incident to your police
   to do about it if they aren’t.
10. Know when to fight an eviction notice and when          •	 Don’t	give	your	insurance	identification	numbers	
    to move. Unless you have the law and provable              to companies you don’t know.

    facts on your side, fighting an eviction notice is      •	 Carry	a	disposable	camera	in	your	glove	
    usually shortsighted.                                      compartment. If you are in an accident, take

                                                               pictures of the damage and the people involved.
Landlords                                                      Ask for names, telephone numbers and driver’s
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s              license information for all those involved. Getting
rental assistance program, also known as the Housing           contact information for any witnesses is also a

Choice Voucher Program, allows low-income families             good idea.
to lease privately-owned rental housing. If you wish to
rent to voucher holders, you should inform the local

Housing Authority. For more information, visit               insurance department (p. 151) can provide                                                 this information.
                                                           •	 Check	the	financial stability and soundness of

                                                              the	insurance	company.	Ratings	from	A.M.	
 insUranCE                                                    Best (, Standard & Poor’s
                                                              (, Moody’s	Investors	

General sources of insurance information include              Services (, and Weiss Ratings,
the American Council of Life Insurers (p. 164), the           Inc. ( are available online
Insurance Information Institute (p. 167), the National        and at most public libraries.

Association of Insurance Commissioners (p. 167), and
your state insurance department (p. 151). You can also     •	 Research	the	complaint	record	of	the	company.	
visit                                         Contact your state insurance department (p. 151),

                                                              or visit the website of the National Association
When buying insurance, whether it’s home, life, auto,
                                                              of Insurance Commissioners (,
rental or other:
                                                              which has a database of complaints filed with

•	 Find	out	whether	your	state	insurance	department	          state regulators.
   offers any information concerning insurance
                                                           •	 Find	out	what	others	think	about	the	company’s	
   companies and rates (p. 151). This is a good way to

                                                              customer service. Consumers can rate home-
   get a feeling for the range of prices and the lowest-
                                                              owner insurance companies at www.jdpower.
   cost providers in your area.
•	 Check	several	sources	for	the	best	deal.	Try	getting	
                                                           •	 Once	you	pay	your	first	insurance	premium,	make	

   quotes from a website such as,
                                                              sure you receive a written policy. This tells you the
   but be aware that many online services may provide
                                                              agent forwarded your premium to the insurance

   prices for just a few companies. An independent
                                                              company. If you don’t receive a policy within 60 days,
   insurance agent who works with several insurers in

                                                              contact your agent and the insurance company.
   your local area may be able to get you a better deal.
                                                           If you suspect fraud, call the National Insurance
•	 Make	sure	the	insurance	company	is	licensed	and	        Crime Bureau’s hotline at 1-800-835-6422. For more

   covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays     information, check out
   claims in case the company defaults. Your state

                                                                   of any job. Better plans pay benefits if you are unable
                                                                   to do the usual duties of your own occupation.
                                                                •	 When do benefits begin?	Most	plans	have	a	
                                                                   waiting period after an illness before payments
                                                                •	 How long do benefits last? After the waiting
                                                                   period, payments are usually available until you
                                                                   reach age 65, though shorter or longer terms are also
                                                                •	 What dollar amount is promised? Can benefits
                                                                   be reduced by Social Security disability and workers’
                                                                   compensation payments? Are the benefits adjusted
                                                                   for inflation? Will the policy provider continue
                                                                   making contributions to your pension plan so
                                                                   you have retirement benefits when the disability
                                                                   coverage ends?
auto inSurance                                                  For more information on disability insurance, visit
Requirements vary from state to state. Check with your and
state insurance regulator (p. 151) to learn more about
individual requirements, as well as insurers you may            health inSurance
be considering for your policy.
                                                                Most	consumers	have	health	care	coverage	from	an	
To get the best coverage at the best price, get several         employer. Others have medical care paid through
quotes from insurance companies. It may save you                a	government	program	such	as	Medicare	(p.	112),	
hundreds of dollars a year. Other ways to reduce your           Medicaid	(p.	112),	or	the	Veterans	Administration	
insurance premium are:                                          (p. 119).
•	 Raise	your	deductible	on	collision	and	                      If you have lost your group coverage from an employer
   comprehensive coverages. If you have an older car,           as the result of unemployment, death, divorce, or
   you might want to drop these coverages altogether.           loss of “dependent child” status, you may be able
                                                                to continue your coverage temporarily under the
•	 Take	advantage	of	discounts.	You	may	be	eligible	for	        Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation
   a discount based on the number of miles you drive;           Act (COBRA). You, not the employer, pay for this
   your age (turning 25 or 50); your good grades if you         coverage. When one of these events occurs, you must
   are a student; your driving record (no moving vehicle        be given at least 60 days to decide whether you wish to
   violations or accidents in three years); or if you’ve        purchase the coverage.
   taken a safe-driving course. You might also be able          Some states offer an insurance pool to residents who
   to get discounts if you insure more than one vehicle,        are unable to obtain coverage because of a health
   insure your vehicle and your home with the same              condition. To find out if a pool is available in your state,
   company, have anti-theft devices or have safety              check with your state department of insurance (p. 151).
   features such as air bags.                                   Most	states also offer free or low-cost coverage for
You can also find valuable information about car                children who do not have health insurance. Visit
ownership in the Cars section (p. 5).                  or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW
                                                                (543-7669) for more information.
diSaBilitY inSurance
                                                                healthcare PlanS
Disability can be more disastrous financially than
death. If you are disabled, you lose your earning power,        When purchasing health insurance, your choices will
but you still have living expenses and often huge               typically fall into one of three categories:
expenses for medical care. When purchasing disability
                                                                •	 Traditional fee-for-service health insurance plans
insurance, ask:
                                                                   are usually the most expensive choice. But they offer
•	 How is disability defined? Some policies consider               you the most flexibility when choosing health care
   you disabled if you are unable to perform the duties            providers.

27                            To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                               hoMeoWner / renter’S inSurance

   meDICare BeneFICIarIeS                                      You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on
   Medicare	beneficiaries	can	compare	                         homeowners insurance by shopping around. You can
   HMO	programs	at

                                                               also save money with these tips.
                                                               •	 Consider	a	higher	deductible. Increasing your

                                                                  deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make
                                                                  a big difference in your premium.
•	 Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)

   offer lower co-payments and cover the costs of more         •	 Ask	your	insurance	agent	about	discounts.	You	may	
   preventative care, but your choice of health care              be able get a lower premium if your home has safety
   providers is limited. The National Committee for               features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors,

   Quality	Assurance	evaluates	and	accredits	HMOs.	               an alarm system, storm shutters or fire retardant
   You can find out whether one is accredited in your             roofing material. Persons over 55 years of age or
   state by calling 1-888-275-7585. You can also get this         long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
   information,	as	well	as	report	cards	on	HMOs,	by	           •	 Insure	your	house,	NOT	the	land	under	it.	After	a	

   visiting                                         disaster, the land is still there. If you don’t subtract
                                                                  the value of the land when deciding how much

•	 Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) offer
   lower	co-payments	like	HMOs,	but	give	you	more	                homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more
   flexibility when selecting a provider. A PPO gives             than you should.
   you a list of providers you can choose from.                •	 Don’t	wait	until	you	have	a	loss	to	find	out	if	you	

WARNING: If you go outside the HMO or PPO                         have the right type and amount of insurance.
network of providers, you may have to pay a                    •	 Make	certain	you	purchase	enough	coverage	to	
portion or all of the costs.

                                                                  replace what is insured. “Replacement” coverage
When choosing among different health care plans,                  gives you the money to rebuild your home and
you’ll need to read the fine print and ask lots of                replace its contents. An “Actual Cash Value”
questions, such as:

                                                                  policy is cheaper but pays only what your property
•	 Do	I	have	the	right	to	go	to	any	doctor,	hospital,	            is worth at the time of loss – your cost minus
   clinic or pharmacy I choose?                                   depreciation for age and wear.

•	 Are	specialists	such	as	eye	doctors	and	dentists	           •	 Ask	about	special	coverage	you	might	need.	You	
   covered?                                                       may have to pay extra for computers, cameras,
                                                                  jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp

•	 Does	the	plan	cover	special	conditions	or	treatments	
                                                                  collections, etc.
   such as pregnancy, psychiatric care and physical
   therapy?                                                    •	 Remember	that	flood and earthquake damage are

                                                                  not covered by a standard homeowners policy. The
•	 Does	the	plan	cover	home	care	or	nursing	home	
                                                                  cost of a separate earthquake policy will depend
                                                                  on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area.

•	 Will	the	plan	cover	all	medications	my	physician	
   may prescribe?
•	 What	are	the	deductibles?	Are	there	any	

•	 What	is	the	most	I	will	have	to	pay	out	of	my	own	
   pocket to cover expenses?

•	 Are	there	any	limits	on	expenses	covered	in	a	year?	
   In my lifetime?

•	 If	there	is	a	dispute	about	a	bill	or	service,	how	is	it	

   handled? In some plans, you may be required to have
   a third-party decide how to settle the problem.

                                                                  long-terM care inSurance
                                                                  Medical	advances	have	resulted	in	an	increased	need	
                                                                  for	nursing	home	care	and	assisted	living.	Most	health	
                                                                  insurance	plans	and	Medicare	severely	limit	or	exclude	
                                                                  long-term care. Here are some questions to ask when
                                                                  considering a separate long-term care insurance policy.
                                                                  •	 What qualifies you for benefits? Some insurers
                                                                     say you must be unable to perform a specific number
                                                                     of the following activities of daily living: eating,
                                                                     walking, getting from bed to a chair, dressing,
                                                                     bathing, using a toilet, and remaining continent.
                                                                  •	 What type of care is covered? Does the policy
                                                                     cover nursing home care? What about coverage
                                                                     for assisted living facilities that provide less client
                                                                     care than a nursing home? If you want to stay in
                                                                     your home, will it pay for care provided by visiting
                                                                     nurses and therapists? What about help with food
                                                                     preparation and housecleaning?
                                                                  •	 What will the benefit amount be? Most	plans	are	
                                                                     written to provide a specific dollar benefit per day.
                                                                     The benefit for home care is usually about half the
The Insurance Information Institute offers a wealth of               nursing-home benefit. But some policies pay the
information on all types of insurance at                same for both forms of care. Other plans pay only for
See page 167 for additional contact information.                     your actual expenses.
                                                                  •	 What is the benefit period? It is possible to get
                                                                     a policy with lifetime benefits, but this can be very
     Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding                  expensive. Other options for coverage are from one
     should take advantage of the National Flood                     to six years. The average nursing home stay is about
     Insurance Program (p. 114).                                     2.5 years.
•	 If	you	are	a	renter,	do	not	assume	your	landlord	              •	 Is the benefit adjusted for inflation? If you buy a
   carries insurance on your personal belongings.                    policy prior to age 60, you face the risk that a fixed daily
   Purchase a separate policy for renters.                           benefit will not be enough by the time you need it.
                                                                  • Is there a waiting period before benefits begin?
life inSurance                                                      A 20 to 100 day period is not unusual.
Your need for life insurance will change with changes
in your life. For example, the arrival of children usually        other inSurance
triggers a sharp increase in the amount you will need.
As children grow older and leave the nest, you will               •		Travel Insurance. There are four kinds of travel
probably need less protection.                                       insurance: Travel Cancellation Insurance, Baggage
                                                                     or	Personal	Effects	Coverage,	Emergency	Medical	
Term life insurance policies are the least costly. They
                                                                     Coverage and Accidental Death. One helpful
pay death benefits but have no cash value if you
decide to stop making payments. As the word “term”                   website is See page 43 for
suggests, these policies are in effect for a specific                additional insight on travel concerns and problems.
period of time – one year, or until you reach a certain           •	 Identity Theft Insurance. This type of insurance
age are common. Visit for online                   provides reimbursement to crime victims for the
comparisons of term life insurance.                                  cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit
Whole life, universal life, and other cash value policies            reports. Some companies now include this as part
combine a long-term savings and investment product                   of their homeowner’s insurance policy. Others sell it
with life insurance. Canceling these policies after only             as a stand-alone policy. Ask your homeowner policy
a few years can more than double your life insurance                 company for information.

29                              To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
•		International Healthcare Insurance. A policy             • E-mail. How many e-mail accounts come with

   that provides health coverage no matter where              the service? What will be the storage limit on your
   you are in the world. The policy term is flexible so       mailbox? How many days does the ISP keep your
   you can purchase only for the time you will be out         mail before deleting it?

   of the country. Check online or write your current       •	 Website space. Do you want to create a personal

   healthcare provider for coverage information.               website? If so, find out whether your provider offers
•		Liability Insurance. Insurance for what the                 web space and software to create your page.

   policyholder is legally obligated to pay because         •	 Software. Is there any software required to
   of bodily injury or property damage caused to               activate the service? How do you get it? How large
   another person. Search online or ask your personal          is the software? Can you use whatever browser or
   insurance agent for more information.

                                                               e-mail program you’d like?
•		Umbrella Insurance. A policy that supplements the        •	 Support. What kinds of support are available—
   insurance you already have for home, auto and other         phone, e-mail, chat, etc.? What are the hours of
   personal property. Umbrella insurance can help              support? Are there any additional charges for

   cover costs that exceed the limits of other policies.       support?
                                                            •	 Special features. What services are provided for

 inTErnET                                                      spam blocking, virus protection, instant messaging
                                                               and chat rooms?

chooSing Service ProviderS                                  •	 Terms of service. Is there a limit to the number

                                                               of hours per month you can use the service?
To connect your computer to the Internet, you’ll
need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Some ISPs          •	 Cost. What is the monthly fee for the service?

are	large	and	well	known,	such	as	AOL,	MSN,	Time	              Are there any additional equipment or setup fees?
Warner Cable, and Earthlink, while others are literally
one-person operations. Some companies limit their           online file Sharing

service to providing Internet access only. Others, like
your telephone and cable company, may offer Internet        Every day, millions of computer users share files
access as part of a larger package of services.             online. Whether it is music, games, video, or software,
                                                            peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing allows users to share

If you have limited Internet expertise, you may want to     all kinds of content. To share files, you download
start with one of the well-known ISPs. They usually         special software that connects your computer to an
offer user-friendly startup software. This software         informal network of other computers running the same

often includes features such as a browser, instant          software. The software is often free and easy
messaging, parental controls, and pop-up blockers.          to access.
Many	also	offer	24-hour	tech	support.	Of	course,	all	of	
                                                            However, file-sharing can have a number of risks.

this convenience results in higher monthly user fees.
Once you are comfortable with how the Internet works,       For example, when you are connected to file-sharing
you may discover you don’t need all the ‘extras’ and        programs, you could unknowingly allow others to copy

switch to a lower-cost ISP.                                 private files you never intended to share. You could
                                                            download material that is protected by copyright laws
Whatever your present level of expertise, you will want     and find yourself mired in legal issues. You could
to consider these factors when selecting a provider.        download a virus or facilitate a security breach. Or you

•	 Speed. If all you want to do is check e-mail and read    could unwittingly download pornography labeled as
   web pages, a dial-up connection may be enough.           something else.
   But most people also want to download music,             To secure the personal information stored on your

   television shows, or watch videos. For these, you will   computer, the FTC suggests that you:
   need a faster connection with “broadband” access,        •	 Set	up	the	file-sharing	software	very	carefully.

   such as a digital subscriber line (DSL), a cable
   modem, or satellite.                                     •	 Be	aware	of	spyware.	Use	a	good	anti-spyware	

•	 Availability. For dial-up service, is there a local
   phone number or a toll-free number for access?           •	 Close	your	connection	when	you’re	not	using	it.

•	 Wireless access. Can you get a wireless                  •	 Use	an	effective	anti-virus	program	and	update	
   connection for other computers in your home?                it regularly.

•	 Talk	with	your	family	about	file	sharing.
For more complete information on P2P, visit
                                                                    SoCIal netWorKIng onlIne                                              Social networking sites such as Facebook and
                                                                    MySpace	are	the	hippest,	“meet	markets”	around,	
                                                                    especially among tween, teens and 20-somethings.
online coPYright iSSueS                                             While these sites can increase a person’s circle
Quite simply, it’s illegal to make or download                      of friends, they also increase exposure to people
unauthorized copies of software. Whether you are                    with less-than-friendly intentions, including sexual
casually making a few copies for friends, loaning disks,            predators. Visit to learn
                                                                    how to help your kids socialize safely online.
distributing and/or downloading pirated software via
the Internet, or buying a single software program and
then installing it on 100 computers, you are committing
a copyright infringement. It doesn’t matter if you make           Prevent online fraud
money doing it or not. If you or your company is caught
                                                                  The Internet gives you easy access to information,
copying software, you may be held liable under both
                                                                  entertainment, financial offers and countless other
civil and criminal law.
                                                                  services. The flip side, however, is that it can leave you
If the copyright owner brings a civil action against you,         vulnerable to online scammers, identity thieves and
the owner can seek to stop you from using its software            criminals. To guard against Internet fraud, follow the
immediately and can also request monetary damages.                tips below:
The copyright owner can sue for as much as $150,000 for
each program copied. In addition, the government can              Know your seller. If you don’t, do some research.
criminally prosecute you for copyright infringement. If
convicted, you can be fined up to $250,000, or sentenced          •	 Company websites often provide information in
to jail for up to five years, or both.                               a section called “About Us.” Some online sellers
                                                                     participate in programs, such as BBBOnLine,
For more information, visit, a site
                                                                     that help resolve problems. Look for a logo or
sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (p. 115)
or, a site on online piracy issues                       endorsement seal on the company website. This
managed by the Business Software Alliance.                           is an indication, but not a guarantee, of the seller’s
online auctionS and SellerS                                       •	 Check with state and/or local consumer offices.
Many	private	sellers	sell	items	on	the	Internet	through	          •	 Another	way	to	check	online	sellers	is	to	look	
auctions, classified ads, newsgroups, and chat                       for other consumers’ comments. Visit
rooms. Unfortunately, these types of sales are a very      , where consumers rate online
common type of Internet fraud. Resolving disputes                    stores. Some Internet auction sites post ratings
can be difficult when the seller is in a different part of           of sellers based on comments by buyers. This
the country. Be aware that government agencies may                   information may give you some idea of how you’ll be
not be able to help you since many laws don’t apply to               treated, but beware of too many glowing stories that
sales between individuals. Follow this advice, as well
                                                                     might have been placed by sellers themselves.
as the general tips on shopping from home (p. 40).
                                                                  Protect your personal information. Don’t provide it
                                                                  in response to an e-mail, a pop-up, or a website you’ve
                                                                  linked to from an e-mail or web page.
                                                                  •	 Take your time and resist any urge to “act now”
                                                                     to keep your account open or take advantage of a
                                                                     special offer.
                                                                  •	 Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as
                                                                     well	as	a	firewall,	and	update	them	all	regularly.	Make	
                                                                     sure your operating system and web browser are set
                                                                     up properly and update them regularly as well.
                                                                  •	 Protect your passwords. Don’t share your
                                                                     passwords	with	anyone.	Memorize	them.	

31                              To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                           •	 Wired Safety ( is an

 Be SuSPICIouS oF maSS e-maIlS                                Internet safety and help group comprised of
 Many	mass	e-mails	contain	false	alarms,	misleading	          unpaid volunteers around the world that provides
                                                              education, assistance, and awareness on all aspects

 requests for donations or fictitious offers of money
 and free goods. You can check the validity of almost         of cybercrime and abuse, privacy, security, and
 any mass e-mail at Don’t

                                                              responsible technology use. Wired Safety is the
 forward an e-mail unless you’re sure that it contains        parent group of, FBI-trained
 accurate information. Not only do such e-mails
                                                              teens and preteens who promote Internet safety.

 confuse recipients, they are often used to collect
 e-mail addresses for spammers.
                                                           Phishing Is A Growing Problem

                                                           “Phishing” is the use of fraudulent e-mail designed
•	 Back up important files. Copy them onto another

                                                           to steal identities as well as vital personal information
   computer or a removable hard drive such as a flash
                                                           such as credit card numbers, bank account PINS and
   memory stick. When you spill coffee on your laptop      passwords. Phishing e-mails often ask you to verify
   or if your computer stops working, you’ll be glad       this type of information. Legitimate companies never

   you did.                                                ask for your password or account number via e-mail.
Learn who to contact if something goes wrong online.       If you’re not sure, call the company directly.

Report suspected fraud to your bank, credit card
company or relevant authority.                             Don’t Take The Bait

The FTC (p. 121) provides tips to help secure your         Don’t reply to e-mail messages that claim your
computer, guard against Internet fraud, and protect your   credit card information or other personal information

personal information. Visit          needs to be updated. They may even threaten to
for more information. To keep up to date with the latest   disable your account. Don’t believe it.
computer threats, sign up for alerts from the Department

of Homeland Security at                   SPaM
Here are some other sources on protecting yourself
                                                           E-mail spam is not just unwanted, it can be offensive.
and your family while using the Internet.

                                                           Pornographic spam causes many consumer
•	 GetNetWise ( is a public             complaints. Decrease the number of spam e-mails
   service sponsored by Internet industry corporations     you receive by making it difficult for spammers to

   and public interest organizations to help ensure        get and use your e-mail address.
   that Internet users have safe, constructive, and        •	 Don’t	use	an	obvious	e-mail	address,	such	as	
   educational or entertaining online experiences.   Instead use numbers or

•	 Internet Keep Safe Coalition                               other digits, such as
   (, the home of Faux Paw the           •	 Use	one	e-mail	address	for	close	friends	and	family	

   Techno Cat, is a coalition of 49 governors/first           and another for everyone else. Free addresses are
   spouses,	law	enforcement,	the	American	Medical	            available from Yahoo! and Hotmail. You can
   Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics,           also get a disposable forwarding address from

   and other associations dedicated to helping parents, If an address attracts too
   educators, and caregivers by providing tools and           much spam, get rid of it and establish a new one.
   guidelines to teach children the safe and healthy
                                                           •	 Don’t	post	your	e-mail	address	on	a	public	web	

   use of technology.
                                                              page. Spammers use software that harvests text
•	 National Cyber Security Alliance                           addresses. Substitute “janedoe at” for the
   ( is a non-profit                   “” Or display your address as a

   organization that provides tools and resources             graphic image, not text.
   to empower home users, small businesses, and
                                                           •	 Don’t	enter	your	address	on	a	website	before	you	

   schools, colleges, and universities to stay safe
                                                              check its privacy policy.

                                                           •	 Uncheck	any	checked	boxes.	These	often	grant	the	
•	 Staysafe ( is an educational
                                                              site or its partners permission to contact you.
   site intended to help consumers understand both

   the positive aspects of the Internet, and how to        •	 Don’t	click	on	an	e-mail’s	“unsubscribe”	link	unless	
   manage a variety of safety and security issues that        you trust the sender. This action tells the sender

   exist online.                                              you’re there.

•	 Never	forward	chain	letters,	petitions	or	virus	warnings.	
   All could be a spammer’s trick to collect addresses.              inVEsTing
•	 Disable	your	e-mail	“preview	pane.”	This	stops	spam	
                                                                   If you’ve paid off your credit card debts and you have
   from reporting to its sender that you’ve received it.           a financial goal in mind, such as saving for retirement,
•	 Choose	an	Internet	Service	Provider	(ISP)	that	filters	         paying for college or buying a new house, then you
   e-mail. If you get lots of spam, your ISP may not be            have some homework to do before you invest your
   filtering effectively.                                          money. What is your tolerance for risk? What do you
                                                                   want to invest in: stocks, bonds, mutual funds? Do
•	 Use	spam-blocking software. Web browser software                you want to open an IRA or buy an annuity? Does your
   often includes free filtering options. You can also             employer offer a 401(k)? You must investigate before
   purchase special software that will accomplish this task.       you invest – and remember every investment involves
•	 Report spam. Alert your ISP that spam is slipping               some	degree	of	risk.	Most	securities	are	not	insured	by	
   through its filters. The Federal Trade Commission               the federal government if they lose money or fail, even
                                                                   if you purchase them through a bank or credit union
   (FTC) also wants to know about “unsolicited
                                                                   that	offers	federally	insured	savings	accounts.	Make	
   commercial e-mail.” Forward spam to
                                                                   sure you have answers to all of these questions before
                                                                   you invest.
                                                                   •	 How quickly can you get your money back?
                                                                      Stocks, bonds and shares in mutual funds can
                                                                      usually be sold at any time, but there is no guarantee
                                                                      you will get back all the money you paid for them.
                                                                      Other investments, such as limited partnerships,
                                                                      certificates of deposit (CDs) or IRAs often restrict
                                                                      your ability to cash out your holdings.
                                                                   •	 What can you expect to earn on your money?
                                                                      While bonds generally promise a fixed return,
                                                                      earnings on most other securities go up and down
                                                                      with market changes. Keep in mind that just because
                                                                      an investment has done well in the past, there is no
                                                                      guarantee it will do well in the future.
                                                                   •	 What type of earnings can you expect? Will you
                                                                      get income in the form of interest, dividends or rent?
                                                                      Some investments, such as stocks and real estate,
                                                                      have the potential for earnings and growth in value.
                                                                      What is the potential for earnings over time?
                                                                   •	 How much risk is involved? With any investment,
                                                                      there is always the risk that you won’t get your money
                                                                      back or the earnings promised. There is usually a
                                                                      trade-off between risk and reward – the higher the
                                                                      potential return, the greater the risk. The federal
                                                                      government insures bank savings accounts and
                                                                      backs up U.S. Treasury securities (including savings
                                                                      bonds). See FCIC on page 121 and the chart on
                                                                      page 4 for regulatory information. Other investment
                                                                      options are not protected.
                                                                   •	 Are your investments diversified? Some
                                                                      investments perform better than others in certain
                                                                      situations. For example, when interest rates go up,
                                                                      bond prices tend to go down. One industry may
                                                                      struggle while another prospers. Putting your money
                                                                      in a variety of investment options can help to reduce
                                                                      your risk.

33                               To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
     type of                                    What is it?                                             risk level

                          Mutual funds that invest in short-term bonds . Usually pays
Money	Market	Funds        better interest rates than a savings account but not as much     Low risk .

                          as a certificate of deposit (CD) .
                          Also known as fixed-income securities because the income
Bonds and Bond Funds      they pay is fixed when the bond is sold . Bonds and bond         Low risk .

                          funds invest in corporate or government debt obligations .
                                                                                           Risk level depends on which index
                          Invest in a particular market index such as the S&P 500 or
                                                                                           the fund invests in . For example, a
                          the Russell 2000 . An index fund is passively managed and

Index Funds                                                                                bond index fund involves a lower risk
                          simply mirrors the performance of the designated stock or
                                                                                           level than an index fund of emerging
                          bond index .
                                                                                           markets overseas .
                          Stocks represent a share of a company . As the company’s
Stocks                                                                                     Medium to high risk .
                          value rises or falls, so does the value of the stock .

                          Invest in a variety of securities, which may include stocks,     Risk levels vary according to the
Mutual	funds              bonds and/or money market securities . Costs and                 holdings in the mutual fund . Read the

                          objectives vary .                                                prospectus to understand the risk .

•	 Are there any tax advantages to a particular                     online trading

   investment? U.S. Savings Bonds are exempt from                   Stocks can now be bought and sold with a mouse
   state	and	local	taxes.	Municipal	bonds	are	exempt	               click from a wide range of online brokers, often with

   from federal income tax and, sometimes, state                    low transaction fees. However, the price of some
   income tax as well. For special goals, such as paying            stocks can instantly go from high to low. Online
   for college and retirement, tax-deferred investments             trading is quick and easy, but online investing takes
                                                                    time. Before you trade, ask questions and learn how

   are available that let you postpone or even eliminate
   payment of income taxes.                                         to limit losses in this fast-moving marketplace by:
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)                        •	 Knowing	what	you’re	buying	

requires public companies to disclose financial and                 •	 Understanding	why	you’re	buying	or	selling
other information to help you make sound decisions.
View the text of these files at            •	 Being	aware	of	how	quickly	trading	changes	

Or call the SEC Toll-Free Investor Information Service                 during fast markets
at 1-800-732-0330 to obtain free publications and                   For more insights on online trading and choosing a
investor alerts, or to learn how to file a complaint.               broker, search in the “investor information” section

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)                 at
also provides up-to-date market data and information
for a wide range of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and

other	securities	through	its	Market	Data	Center	at	                         If you need more information or have an                                                   investment advisor problem that you are
                                                                            unable to resolve directly, you can contact
The following companies rate the financial condition                        the SEC (p. 123) or FINRA (p. 166).

of corporations and municipalities issuing bonds.
Their ratings are available online and at many public
libraries.                                                                                                                              Travel

•	 Standard	&	Poor’s	(
•	 Moody’s	Investors	Services	(

•	 Weiss Ratings (

For ratings of mutual funds, consult magazines such
as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Money, Consumer Reports,
Smart Money, and Worth. To compare expenses, use

the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Mutual	Fund	Expense	Analyzer	at

                                                                           information. You can find out how to reach your state
     ProteCt yourSelF By SettIng                                           securities regulator by visiting
     your PrICe lImIt .                                                 •	 Have they had any run-ins with regulators or
                                                                           received serious complaints from investors? Call
     One of the best ways to avoid buying or selling a
     stock at a price that’s too high or too low, is to place              your local state securities regulator or the SEC.
     a limit order instead of a market order.                              You can also check out
     •	 A	limit	order	is	an	order	to	buy	or	sell	at	a	specific	            or call FINRA toll-free at 1-800-289-9999 to find
        price. This type of order protects you because it                  licensing, employment and disciplinary information.
        can only be completed at the price limit you set.               •	 How are they paid? Is it an hourly rate, a flat fee,
     •	 A	market	order	does	now	allow	you	to	control	the	                  or a commission that depends on the investments
        price at which your order will be filled.                          you make? Do they get a bonus from their firm for
                                                                           selling you a particular product?

financial BrokerS and adviSorS                                          •	 What are the fees for setting up and servicing
                                                                           your account?
When selecting a broker or investment advisor,
research the person’s education and professional                        Additional organizations that could also be
history, as well as the firm they work for. Ask:                        helpful are:
•	 Have they worked with others who have                                • offers a semi-annual rating
   circumstances similar to yours?                                         of the top online brokerage firms that trade stocks
•	 Are they licensed in your state? Your state                             and mutual funds.
   securities regulator (p. 156) lists individuals and                  • offers data on Wall Street
   firms that are registered in your state. Ask if                         analysts and their recent stock picks.
   the regulatory office has any other background
                                                                        •	 The Commodity Futures Trading Commission
                                                                           (CFTC) provides consumer alerts and advisories.
                                                                           Click “Consumer Protection” at
     InveStment FrauD: BeWare                                              The Commission oversees the Reparations
     Deceptive pitches for investments often                               Program that resolves disputes between commodity
     misrepresent or leave out facts in order to promote                   customers and commodity professionals. You
     fantastic profits with little risk. No investment is                  can institute “reparations” proceedings against
     risk-free, and a high rate of return means greater
                                                                           commodity professionals registered with the
     risk. Before investing, get written information
     such as a prospectus or annual report. Beware if                      Commission if they violate the anti-fraud or other
     a salesperson:                                                        provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act. To ask
     •	 Encourages	you	to	borrow	money	or	cash	in	                         a question, report information or submit a complaint,
        retirement funds to invest                                         contact the CFTC (p. 106).
     •	 Pressures	you	to	invest	immediately                             •	 Both	the	North American Securities
     •	 Promises	quick	profits                                             Administrators Association (p. 168) and the
     •	 Says	the	disclosure	documents	required	by	                         National Futures Association (p. 168) can offer
        federal law are just a formality                                   helpful information.
     •	 Tells	you	to	write	false	information	on	your	
        account form
     •	 Sends	material	with	typos	or	misspellings	or	not	                 phonEs
        printed on letterhead
     •	 Does	not	send	your	money	promptly                               The choices for phone services have never been
                                                                        greater.	Most	consumers	are	now	able	to	buy	local	
     •	 Offers	to	share	inside	information
                                                                        and long-distance phone service from their telephone
     •	 Uses	words	such	as	“guarantee,”	“high	return,”	                 company, cable or satellite TV provider, or Internet
        “limited offer,” or “as safe as a CD”                           service provider. Services such as voice-mail, call
     •	 Uses	the	phrase	“this	investment	is	IRA	                        waiting, caller ID, paging and wireless service may be
        approved”                                                       offered as a package deal or sold separately. Before
     •	 Claims	“off-shore	investments	are	tax-free	                     you buy, compare services and prices, and think about
        and confidential”                                               what you really need.

35                                    To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
•	 Whom	do	you	call	most	often?

•	 What	time	of	day	or	day	of	the	week	do	you	call?
                                                             PrePaID CallIng CarDS
                                                             For information about prepaid cards (including
•	 Do	you	want	to	get	messages?	If	so,	do	you	need	          calling cards), see page (3). For help finding

   voice-mail or will an answering machine do?               the best deals on prepaid phone cards, try

•	 Do	you	want	call	waiting	and/or	caller	ID?
•	 How	important	is	it	for	you	to	have	your	phone	with	
                                                           Compare plans and rates at:,

   you when you are away from home?
                                                 , and
Find out how each company prices its services.    Another website:
Are there minimum use, time-of-day or distance   , focuses on rates from
requirements, flat monthly fees, or special plans? For     10-10 dial-around long-distance services.

example, wireless service may be cheaper than regular
local service if you don’t make many calls.                SlaMMing and craMMing
Make	sure	you’re	comparing	prices	on	similar	plans	
                                                           “Slamming” occurs when a phone company illegally

and features. Understand that many service providers
                                                           switches your phone service without your permission. If
offer contracts for specific time periods. Read the
                                                           you notice a different company name on your bill or see
fine print and ask questions if there is anything you’re

                                                           phone charges that are higher than normal, take action:
not clear about. The nonprofit Telecommunications
Research and Action Center ( offers           •	 Contact	the	company	that	slammed	you	and	ask	to	
information about long-distance rates and wireless            be switched back to your original company. Tell them

services.                                                     you are exercising your right to refuse to pay charges.
The FCC (p. 120) offers consumer information about         •	 Report	the	problem	to	your	original	company	and	
choosing a long distance carrier, understanding new           ask to be enrolled in your previous calling plan.

phone fees and taxes, and more at
The National Consumers League also maintains a Web         If you’re unable to resolve your complaint, contact
page ( to help         the FCC (p. 120).
you understand phone charges and recognize fraud.

                                                           “Cramming” occurs when companies add charges
                                                           to your phone bill without your permission. These
                                                           charges may be for services such as voice-mail,

                                                           ringtones, or club memberships. You may not notice
                                                           these monthly charges because they are relatively
                                                           small, $5 to $30 dollars, and look like your regular
                                                           phone charges.

                                                           Take these steps to avoid slammers and crammers:

                                                           •	 Block changes to your phone service. Ask
                                                              your telephone service provider if they offer a
                                                              blocking service, which usually requires the

                                                              company to notify you before making any
                                                              changes to your service.

                                                           •	 Read the fine print on contest entry forms and
                                                              coupons. You could be agreeing to switch your
                                                              phone service or buy optional services.                    Travel

                                                           •	 Watch out for impostors. Companies could
                                                              falsely claim to be your regular phone company
                                                              and offer some type of discount plan or change in

                                                              billing. They may also say they are taking a survey

                                                              or pretend to be a government agency.
                                                           •	 Beware of “negative option notices.” You can

                                                              be switched or signed up for optional services
                                                              unless you say “NO” to telemarketers.

•	 Examine your telephone bill carefully,                        Is there a trial period?	Many	people	experience	dead	
   including pages that show the details, and look               spots where a cell phone doesn’t work. A trial period
   for suspicious charges.                                       lets you test your service and try the features of the
                                                                 phone without incurring a termination fee.
Your phone service cannot be shut off for refusal
to pay for unauthorized services. For help, contact              Know your options.	Make	sure	you	are	only	buying	
your local or state consumer protection agency (p. 130),         the options of features you really need. It is always
state public utilities commission (p. 160), or the               easier to upgrade a plan later if you feel you need an
FCC (p. 120).                                                    added feature.
                                                                 Are there fees or limits on changing your plan?
cell PhoneS                                                      Some providers charge a fee if you want to downsize
                                                                 or upgrade your plan. Others limit how often you can
Before you sign a contract, choose a plan and a                  make changes.
company that meets your needs.
                                                                 What if you want to cancel your service?	Most	
Where can you make and receive calls?	Most	                      providers have a penalty. This is a concern if you have
providers now offer a choice of local, regional or               to move out of the area covered by your plan.
national plans. A local plan offers low-cost options if
most of your calls are near home. Regional plans cover
a larger geographic area – sometimes several states.             PaY-aS-You-go PlanS
If you call outside the area covered by these plans, you         If you want cell phone service only for emergencies
will pay long distance and roaming charges in addition           or aren’t sure how much you will actually use a cell
to the airtime used. National plans are the most                 phone once you get it, you may want to consider a
expensive but they let you use your phone anywhere in            prepaid cell phone before you commit to a long-term
the country for a single per-minute price.                       wireless contract. With a prepaid cell phone, there is
How frequently will you use the phone? If you just               no contract to sign and no monthly bill to worry about.
want a phone for emergencies, an economy plan with a             You will know exactly how much you spend. The down
few minutes a month may be all you need. On the other            side of prepaid plans is that you pay more per minute
hand, if you are going to be a heavy user, a plan with           and, if you don’t use the phone for an extended period
several free hours and the lowest airtime is a wiser             of time, you may lose the money in your account.
choice. If you plan to use texting, pick a plan that will
meet your needs and avoid surprises on your billing.             voiP
Most	services	allow	you	to	upgrade	a	plan	without	an	
added charge.                                                    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service
                                                                 is an option for anyone with a broadband Internet
Is a family plan option available? Instead of                    connection.	Most	telephone	and	cable	companies	
individual cell phone plans for each member of the               offer VoIP service, as well as private companies like
family, you can share one cellular service plan and a            Vonage and Skype. Some VoIP services only work
pool of monthly usage minutes among several phones.              using special phones, while other services allow you
The cost of the additional numbers per month is                  to use a traditional phone through an adaptor. For
usually less than if you purchased individual accounts.          more information on whether VoIP is right for you,

                                                                   priVaCY proTECTion and
                                                                   idEnTiTY ThEFT
                                                                 Identity thieves steal your personal information to
                                                                 commit fraud. They can damage your credit status
                                                                 (p. 12) and cost you time and money restoring your
                                                                 good name. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim,
                                                                 follow the tips below.

                                                                 Tips for Preventing Identity Loss
                                                                 •	 Don’t carry your Social Security card in your
                                                                    wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out your
                                                                    SSN when absolutely necessary.

37                             To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
•	 Protect your PIN. Never write a PIN on a credit/

   debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.
•		Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Use your free              If you believe that

   hand to shield the keypad when using pay phones              a person, agency
   and ATMs.                                                    or organization

                                                                covered under the
•	 Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put            HIPAA Privacy Rule
   your mail on hold when you are away from home for            violated your health

   more than a day or two.                                      information privacy
                                                                rights or committed
•	 Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or            another violation of
   financial statements are late, contact the sender.           the Privacy Rule, you

•	 Keep your receipts. Ask for carbons and incorrect            may be able to file
                                                                written complaints
   charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts
                                                                with the U.S. Dept.
   with account statements. Watch for unauthorized              of Health and Human

                                                                Services Office for
                                                                Civil Rights (p. 113).
•		Tear up or shred unwanted receipts, credit offers,

   account statements, expired cards, etc., to prevent
   dumpster divers getting your personal information.
                                                              •	 Contact the credit-reporting bureaus (p. 11)
•	 Store personal information in a safe place at
                                                                 and ask them to flag your account with a fraud

   home and at work. Don’t leave it lying around.
                                                                 alert, which asks merchants not to grant new credit
•		Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for                     without your approval.
   personal information in the mail, over the phone

                                                              To help victims of identity theft, the FTC offers the
   or online.
                                                              publication, Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity
•	 Install firewalls and virus-detection software on          Theft, which includes the ID Theft Affidavit. You can
   your home computer.                                        use the affidavit to report the theft to most of the

                                                              parties involved. All three credit bureaus and many
•	 Check your credit report once a year. Check it
                                                              major creditors have agreed to accept the affidavit.
   more frequently if you suspect someone has gained          Request a copy of the publication by calling toll-

   access to your account information. See Credit             free 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or visit www.ftc.
   Reports (p. 11).                                           gov/idtheft. You can also use this website to file a
                                                              complaint with the FTC.

rePorting identitY theft                                      The FTC also publishes a series of publications
If you suspect or become a victim of identity theft,          about the importance of personal information privacy.
                                                              To download copies, go to or request

follow these steps:
                                                              free copies of brochures by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP
•	 Report it to your financial institution. Call the          (382-4357).
   phone number on your account statement or on the

   back of your credit or debit card.
                                                              Protect Your PrivacY
•	 Report the fraud to your local police. Keep a copy
                                                              Getting a credit card approved, transferring money

   of the police report, which will make it easier to prove
                                                              from one account to another, renewing your driver’s
   your case to creditors and retailers.                      license, getting a prescription from your doctor at
                                                              your local pharmacy: think about how easily and
                                                              quickly you can do these things today. A down side
 IDentIty tHeFt InSuranCe

                                                              of this convenience is that there are more
 These policies may be worth more to the company              opportunities for your personal information to be

 selling it than they are to you. Before you buy one of       changed, stolen or reported inaccurately. To help
 these credit watch plans, read the fine print. You may       protect your privacy, follow these tips:

 be better off following the prevention tips here and,
 in the event you become a victim of fraud, reporting         •	 Look	for	privacy	statements	on	websites,	sales	
 it yourself. Be aware that many companies and law               materials, and forms you fill out. If a website claims

 enforcement officers will only deal with you (as                to follow a set of established voluntary standards,
 opposed to an insurance company representative).                read the standards. Don’t assume they provide the

 See more on Identity Theft Insurance on page 29.
                                                                 level of privacy you want.

•	 Ask	what	information	will	be	collected	and	how	it	            federal law (the Health Insurance Portability and
   may be used.                                                  Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA), which:
•	 Be	selective	in	what	you	put	on	warranty	registration	        •	 Defines	your	rights	over	your	health	information
   forms. The company only needs the purchase                    •	 Sets	rules	and	limits	on	who	is	allowed	to	receive	
   date, model/serial numbers, and how you can be                   and/or see your health information
   contacted if there is a product recall. Questions not
                                                                 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
   related to your purchase, such as your income and
                                                                 Office for Civil Rights ( or 1-800-
   hobbies, can be ignored.                                      369-1019) is an excellent resource for complete
•	 Talk	about	privacy	with	others	in	your	home.	                 details and advice about the HIPAA ruling. Along
   Everyone, even children, should understand what               with fact sheets and educational materials, the OCR
   information is not appropriate to share on the phone,         also provides a listing of resources for consumers,
   while using a computer, and in other situations.              providers and advocates.

Check with your state or local consumer agency                   The Medical	Information	Bureau	(MIB)	is	a	data	bank	
(p. 130) to find out whether there are any state laws            used by insurance companies that collects and shares
that help protect your privacy. Some companies and               information. You can request a copy of your file by
industry groups have also adopted voluntary policies             writing	to	MIB,	Inc.,	PO	Box	105,	Essex	Station,	
that address privacy concerns.                                   Boston,	MA	02112	or	call	toll	free	1-866-692-6901	
                                                                 (TTY: 1-866-346-3642). There is a fee to obtain a
                                                                 copy of your file.
financial PrivacY
                                                                 For more information on how the federal
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (p. 121)               government protects your personal health information,
and other federal regulators require banks, insurance            visit the website of the Health Privacy Project
companies, brokerage firms and certain businesses                ( or	My	Health	Privacy	
that share financial information to tell you their privacy       ( created by the National
policies. They must give you this information when               Consumers League.
you open an account and at least once every year. This
                                                                 online PrivacY
•	 The	kinds	of	information	being	collected
                                                                 In addition to following the general advice on
•	 How	the	confidentiality	and	security	of	this	                 protecting your privacy, make sure you only use
   information will be protected                                 websites with acceptable privacy policies.
•	 What	types	of	businesses	may	be	provided	                     •	 Look	for	a	privacy	policy	statement	or	seal	that	
   this information                                                 indicates the site abides by privacy standards. Take
If a business is going to share the information with                time to read how your privacy is protected.
anyone outside its corporate family, it must also give           •	 Look	for	signals	that	you	are	using	a	secure	web	
you the chance to “opt-out” or say no to information                page. A secure site encrypts or scrambles personal
sharing. Even if you don’t opt out, your account                    information so it cannot be easily intercepted.
numbers may not be shared with third parties for
marketing purposes.
Your credit information has additional privacy
protections under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Only              ProteCtIng CHIlDren onlIne
people with a legitimate business need can get a copy              The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
of your report. An employer can only get your report               requires commercial websites to obtain parental
with your written consent. For more information on                 consent before collecting, using, or disclosing
your rights under this federal law and to find out how             personal information from children under 13.
you can get a copy of your credit reports, see Credit              For more information,
Reports & Scores on page 11.                                       contact the FTC
                                                                   (p. 121) or visit
Medical PrivacY
Personal information you give to your doctor is shared
with insurance companies, pharmacies, researchers,
and employers based on specific regulations.
The privacy of your health records is protected by

39                             To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
  Signals include a screen notice that says you are on

  a secure site, a closed lock or unbroken key in the            BeWare: CHarItaBle gIvIng
  bottom corner of your screen, or the first letters of          Investigate before you donate. Some con artists
  the Internet address you are viewing changes from

                                                                 use names similar to well-known charities or
  “http” to “https.”                                             pretend to raise money for state or local law
                                                                 enforcement agencies.

Another threat to your privacy is spyware, which is
sneaky software that rides its way onto computers when           •	 Ask	for	written	information,	including	how	much	
you download screensavers, games, music and other                   of the money raised is actually used for charitable

applications. Spyware sends information about what
you’re doing on the Internet to a third-party, usually           •	 Ask	your	Secretary	of	State	if	the	charity	is	
to target you with pop-up ads. Browsers like Internet               registered to solicit in your state.

Explorer and Firefox, and search engines like Google             •	 Check	the	Better	Business	Bureau	(p.	65)	
enable you to block pop-ups. You can also install anti-             and others for information on charities:
spyware to stop this threat to your privacy. For more     ,,
information, see the Internet section on page 30.                   and
                                                                    See also Youth Peddling (p. 41).

 sMarT hoME shopping

                                                               •	 Notify	you	if	the	shipment	cannot	be	made	on	time	
Late delivery, shipment of wrong or damaged items,
and hidden costs are common home shopping                         and give you the choice of waiting longer or getting

complaints. To avoid problems and resolve them                    a refund;
more easily, follow the advice in the “Before You Buy”         •	 Cancel	your	order	and	return	your	payment	if	the	
checklist (p. 1). In addition:

                                                                  new shipping date cannot be met, unless you agree
•	 Be wary of post office boxes and sellers in other              to another delay.
   countries. It may be difficult to find the seller to        If you cancel, your money must be refunded within
   resolve a problem later.

                                                               seven days (or your account must be credited within
•	 Know the total price.	Make	sure	it	includes	all	charges,	   one billing cycle if you charged the order). The
                                                               company can’t substitute a store credit. If you applied
   shipping, handling, insurance and taxes. Coupons and

                                                               for a charge account with the merchant at the same
   other discounts should be properly deducted.
                                                               time that you placed your order, the company has an
•	 Make sure you are clear on what you are                     extra 20 days to ship the merchandise to allow time for
   buying. Watch for words such as “refurbished,”              processing your application.

   “reconditioned,” “close-out,” or “discontinued.”            These FTC rules only apply to the first shipment
•	 Use your credit card, debit card or bank account            of magazine subscriptions or other merchandise

   number for payment, never to prove your identity.           that you receive repeatedly. Orders for services (for
                                                               example, photo finishing), sale of seeds and growing
•	 Keep a record of your purchase. Save any                    plants, collect-on-delivery (C.O.D.) orders, and

   information the seller gives you, such as product           transactions, such as books and music clubs, are
   description, delivery date, cancellation policy,            covered by a different FTC rule. There could also be
   privacy policy, warranties, and order confirmation          laws or regulations in your state that apply. Report

   numbers.                                                    suspected violations to your state or local consumer
                                                               protection agency (p. 130) and to the FTC (p. 121).
•	 Keep track of your order. If it’s late, you have the
   right to cancel your order and demand a refund.
                                                               Your rightS:

Your rightS:                                                   3-daY cooling off rule

ShoPPing froM hoMe                                             This federal law, which dates back to 1972, was
                                                               intended to protect consumers in their homes during

When you order something by mail, phone, fax or                door-to-door sales pitches or at sales in temporary
computer, the Federal Trade Commission requires                business locations. According to the FTC, the 3-Day
the company to:                                                Cooling Off Rule does NOT apply to the purchase of

•	 Ship	the	merchandise	within	the	time	promised,	or	          new automobiles or items sold online. It only applies
   if no specific delivery time was stated, within 30 days     when a company is selling something that costs $25

   of receiving your order;                                    or more at a location other than its regular place of
                                                                         site apply to another. Some sites offer step-by-step
     BeWare: youtH PeDDlIng                                              instructions that will take you through the bidding
     Some for-profit companies use young salespersons                    process.
     to sell magazines and other items door-to-door.                  •	 Find	out	what	protections	you	have.	Does	the	site	
     They trick consumers into believing they are giving
     money to legitimate charities because consumers                     provide free insurance or guarantees for items that
     tend to support young persons and youth programs.                   are not delivered or not what the seller claimed?
     If a young person solicits you, ask for identification           •	 Follow	the	strategies	used	in	any	auction.	Learn	the	
     verifying the organization’s name, address and
                                                                         value of the item you are bidding on. Establish your
     purpose. If the representative can’t provide this
     information, ask them to leave. Report suspicious                   top price and stick to it.
     people to your local police department and/or                    •	 Don’t	bid	on	an	item	you	don’t	intend	to	buy.	If	you’re	
     contact the child labor division of your state labor
                                                                         the highest bidder, you have bought it. Auction
     department listed in the phone book. Even if you are
     satisfied with the information provided, don’t feel                 companies often bar those who back out of a deal
     pressured to make a purchase or contribute. See                     from future bidding.
     also Charitable Giving (p. 40).
                                                                      •	 If	the	seller	can’t	accept	payment	by	credit	card,	use	
                                                                         an escrow service. A third-party holds your money
                                                                         until you get your purchase and approve release of
To comply with the 3-Day Cooling Off Rule, a seller                      your payment to the seller. There is a small fee, but
must inform a buyer of his/her right to cancel the sale
                                                                         the peace of mind is worth it. Auction company eBay
and receive a full refund within three business days.
                                                                         recommends, which is backed by
Be aware that there are situations in which the                          Fidelity National Financial Corporation.
Cooling-Off Rule does not apply:
                                                                      •	 Be	wary	of	sellers	who	insist	you	use	a	specific	
•	 You	made	the	purchase	entirely	by	mail	                               escrow service, especially if you’ve never heard of
   or telephone.                                                         that	particular	service	before.	Make	sure	the	escrow	
•	 The	sale	was	the	result	of	prior	contact	you	had	                     service is legitimate before you use it.
   at the seller’s permanent business location.

                                                                        TELEMarkETing & UnWanTEd MaiL
•	 You	signed	a	document	waiving	your	right	
   to cancel.
•	 Your	purchase	is	not	primarily	for	personal,	family	or	
   household use.                                                     What can you do about the growing pile of unwanted
                                                                      mail in your mailbox and unwelcome telemarketers on
•	 You	were	buying	real	estate,	insurance,	securities,	or	            your phone? Actually, there’s a lot you can do.
   a motor vehicle.
                                                                      •	 Tell	companies	you	do	business	with	to	remove your
•	 You	can’t	return	the	item	in	a	condition	similar	to	                  name from customer lists they rent or sell to others.
   how you received it.                                                  Look for information on how to opt out of marketing
•	 You	bought	arts	or	crafts	at	a	fair,	shopping	mall,	                  lists on sales materials, order forms and websites.
   civic center, or school.                                           •	 Utilize	the	services	provided	by	the	Direct	Marketing	
Remember, if you paid by credit card and are having                      Association to remove your name from most
difficulty getting your refund, you may also be able                     national telemarketing, mail and e-mail lists (p. 166).
to dispute the charge with your credit card company                   •	 Call	the	credit	reporting	agencies’	notification	
under the Fair Credit Billing Act. See Dealing With
                                                                         system at 1-888-567-8688. This will reduce the
Billing Disputes (p. 11).

online auctionS and SellerS
Many	people	sell	items	on	the	Internet	through	
auctions, classified ads, news groups, and chat
rooms. Review the section under “Internet” (p. 31)
for safe shopping online as well as the general tips
on shopping (p. 40) from home.
•	 Check	how	the	auction	works.	Can	you	cancel	a	bid?	
   Don’t assume that the rules used by one auction

41                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                                You can stop these calls by asking the company to

  HoW to Put your name In                                       put your number on its own do-not-call list. You can
                                                                also tell each telemarketer who calls to put you on
  tHe Do-not-Call regIStry                                      its own do-not-call list. Note the name of the person

  To register your home or mobile phone                         you spoke with, the organization, and the date of
  for free, visit or                          the call. The Federal Communications Commission

  call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone                            requires telemarketers (except tax-exempt nonprofit
  you want to register.                                         organizations) to maintain a record of your request

                                                                not to receive future telephone calls. The record must
                                                                be maintained for 10 years. If you get another call
                                                                from the same person or organization, report the date
                                                                and source to the FCC (p. 120).

  number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers             Consider screening any calls that are still slipping
  you get. All three major credit bureaus participate           through by using an answering machine. You can
  in this program.                                              listen to the caller and decide if you want to pick
                                                                up. Your local telephone company may also offer

•	 Under	U.S. Postal Service rules, it is illegal to send
                                                                services (such as Caller I.D.) that allow you to see
   mail that looks like it is from a government agency
                                                                the name and number of the person calling you.

   when it isn’t. It is also illegal to send mail that looks
   like a bill when nothing was ordered, unless it clearly      Some states have their own do-not-call lists for
   states it is not a bill. Report violations of this rule to   residents. Contact your state consumer protection
                                                                office (p. 130) to find out if your state has such a list
   the USPS (p. 124).

                                                                and how you can be added.

national do not call regiStrY
                                                                Pre-recorded MeSSageS

The federal government’s Do Not Call Registry
                                                                The FCC regulates the use of artificial or pre-
allows you to choose whether you want to receive
                                                                recorded voice messages. These may not be made
telemarketing calls at home. Under the Do-Not-
                                                                to residential telephone numbers except in the
Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in

                                                                following cases:
February 2008, telephone numbers on the registry now
remain on it permanently, until they are disconnected           •	 Emergency	calls	needed	to	ensure	your	health	
or reassigned. If you get restricted telemarketing calls

                                                                   and safety
after your number has been in the national registry for
                                                                •	 Non-commercial	calls
three months, you can file a complaint using the same
web page and toll-free number.                                  •	 Calls	which	don’t	include	any	unsolicited	

If your number has been on the National Do Not Call                advertisements
Registry for at least 31 days and you receive a call            •	 Calls	by,	or	on	behalf	of,	tax-exempt	nonprofit	

from a telemarketer that you believe is covered by the             organizations
National Do Not Call Registry, you can file a complaint
at or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222           •	 Calls	for	which	you	have	given	prior	consent

(TTY: 1-866-290-4236).                                          •	 Calls	from	entities	with	which	you	have	an	
Placing your number on this national registry will stop            established business relationship
most telemarketing calls, but not all of them. Calls that       The beginning of the message must identify who

are still permitted include those from:                         is calling. During or after the message, the caller’s
•	 Political	organizations                                      telephone number or address must be given. The
•	 Charities

•	 Telephone	surveyors

•	 Some	insurance	situations
                                                                 Fraudulent telephone calls that use pirated
•	 Organizations	with	which	you	have	a	relationship	             recordings of telephone services from well-known

   can call up to 18 months after your last purchase,            financial institutions are known as “vishing.” The
                                                                 object is to trick you into believing your bank is
   payment or delivery.
                                                                 calling to confirm personal information such as

•	 Companies	to	which	you	have	made	an	inquiry	or	               account numbers, PINs and passwords. Your
   submitted an application can call you for up to               answers are recorded and the information is then

   three months.                                                 used for identity theft.

     HoW to FIle a ComPlaInt                                          and advisors, banks and financial institutions, are
     aBout a SaleS Call                                               exempt from the rule.
     If you think a sales call is in violation of the Federal         In addition, telemarketers are not allowed to use auto
     Trade Commission rule and want to file a complaint,              dialers to reach cell phones.
     use the online resource at and click on
                                                                      If you get a phone call from someone who says they
     the “File a Complaint Online” link.
                                                                      are with your bank and/or credit company and they ask
                                                                      you to provide or confirm any personal information:

phone number cannot be that of the auto dialer or                     •	 Do	NOT	answer	any	questions.
pre-recorded message player that placed the call. It                  •	 Hang	up	immediately.
also cannot be a 900 number or any other number with
                                                                      •	 Call	your	bank	or	credit	company	directly	and	tell	
charges that exceed local or long distance charges.
                                                                         them what happened.
The called party’s telephone line must be released
within five seconds of the time that the calling system
receives notification the party has hung up. Your local
telephone company can tell you if there is a delay                      TraVEL
before you can get a dial tone again in your area.
Submit suspected violations to the FCC.                               Whether reserving a hotel room, buying plane tickets
                                                                      or making other travel arrangements, these tips will
teleMarketing SaleS callS                                             help you get the deal you’ve been promised.

A Federal Trade Commission rule defines what                          •	 Plan as far ahead as you can. Special deals
telemarketers can and cannot do when making a sales                      on hotel rooms and airline seats often sell out
call. Callers must:                                                      very quickly.
•	 Provide	the	seller’s	name                                          •	 Be flexible in your travel plans. Hotels usually
                                                                         offer better rates on days when they expect fewer
•	 Disclose	that	the	call	is	a	sales	call
                                                                         guests. Once you get a fare quote from an airline,
•	 Tell	you	exactly	what	they’re	trying	to	sell                          ask if you could save money by leaving a day earlier
•	 Disclose	the	total	cost	and	other	terms	of	sale	before	               or later, by taking a different flight on the same day,
   you make any payment for goods or services                            or using a different airport. Changing planes during
                                                                         your trip is sometimes cheaper than a nonstop flight.
•	 Tell	you	if	they	don’t	allow	refunds,	exchanges	or	
   cancellations                                                      •	 Check out the seller. Ask tour operators and
                                                                         travel agents whether they belong to a professional
If a prize is involved, the caller must give you the odds
of winning, inform you that no purchase is necessary,                    association, then check to see if they are members in
and tell you how to get instructions for entering                        good standing. Contact your state or local consumer
without buying anything.                                                 protection agency (p. 130) and the Better Business
                                                                         Bureau (p. 65) to find their complaint history.
It’s illegal for telemarketers to:
                                                                      •	 Comparison shop. Determine the complete cost
•	 Misrepresent	what	they’re	offering
                                                                         of the trip in dollars, including all service charges,
•	 Call	before	8	a.m.	or	after	9	p.m.                                    taxes, processing fees, etc.
•	 Threaten,	intimidate	or	harass	you,	or	call	again	if	              •	 Beware of unusually cheap prices and freebies.
   you ask them not to                                                   It could be a scam, and you could end up paying
This FTC rule applies even when you receive a call                       more than the cost of a regular package tour.
from a telemarketer in another state or country. It also              •	 Make sure you understand the terms of the deal.
applies if you make a call to a company in another state
                                                                         If you hear you’ve won a free vacation, ask if you have
or country in response to a mail solicitation.
                                                                         to buy something in order to get it. If the destination
The rule generally does not apply when you call                          is a beach resort, ask the seller how far the hotel is
to order from a catalog or in response to an ad on                       from the beach. Then ask the hotel.
television or radio, or in a magazine or newspaper. It
also does not apply to solicitations you receive by fax               •	 Ask about cancellation policies. You may want
or e-mail. Beware that certain types of businesses,                      to look into trip insurance for added protection.
including nonprofit organizations, investment brokers           offers pricing and policy

43                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
  information on plans from different companies and         •	 Confirm	that	the	airline	will	deliver	the	bag	to	you	

  describes the different forms of policies available.         without charge when it’s found.
•	 Insist on written confirmations. Ask for written         Some airlines will give you money to purchase a few

   proof of reservations and dates.                         necessities. If they don’t provide you with cash, ask
                                                            what types of articles would be reimbursable, and
•	 Pay by credit card. It’s not unusual to make a

                                                            keep all receipts.
   deposit or even pay in full for travel services before
                                                            If a suitcase arrives damaged, the airline will usually
   the trip. A credit card gives you the right to dispute
                                                            pay for repairs. If an item can’t be fixed, they will

   charges for services that were misrepresented or
                                                            negotiate to pay you its depreciated value. The same
   never delivered. If a travel agent or service provider   is true for belongings packed inside. Of course,
   says you can’t leave for at least two months, be very    airlines may refuse to pay for damage if it was caused

   cautious—the deadline for disputing a credit card        by your failure to pack something properly rather than
   charge is 60 days and most scam artists know this.       the airline’s handling.
   (See Dealing With Billing Disputes, p. 11).
In some states, travel sellers must be registered and       Lost Bags

insured. Advance payments for travel must be placed         If your bag is declared officially lost, you will have
in an escrow account until services are provided.           to submit a second, more detailed form within a

Prizes or “free” gifts may also be regulated. Contact       time period set by the airline. The information on
your state or local consumer protection agency              the form is used to estimate the value of your lost
(p. 130) to find out about your rights and how to file      belongings. Airlines can limit their liability for delay,
complaints. The American Society of Travel Agents           loss and damage to baggage; however, they must

(p. 165) will also help resolve disputes with member        prominently display a sign that explains the limit.
agents.                                                     Generally, the maximum an airline pays on lost bags
                                                            and their contents is limited to $3,000 per passenger

reSolving air travel ProBleMS                               on domestic flights, and $1,500 per passenger
                                                            for unchecked baggage on international flights.
No matter how well you plan, you might encounter            See
these common air travel hassles.

                                                            lostbaggagerights.htm for more info on maximum
Delayed and Cancelled Flights
                                                            If the airline’s offer doesn’t fully cover your loss, check

Airline delays caused by bad weather, traffic control       your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if it
problems, and mechanical repairs are hard to predict.       covers losses away from home. Some credit card
If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you

on the earliest flight possible to your destination, at
no additional charge. If you’re able to find a flight on
another airline, ask the first airline to endorse your

ticket to the new carrier. This could save you a fare
increase but there is no rule requiring them to do this.
Each airline has its own policies about what it will

do for delayed passengers; there are no federal
requirements. If your flight is delayed or canceled,
ask the airline if it will pay for meals or a phone call.

Contrary to what many people believe, airlines are not
required to do so.

Delayed or Damaged Bags

If your bags aren’t on the conveyor belt when you
arrive, file a report with the airline before you leave

the airport.

•	 Insist	they	fill	out	a	form	and	give	you	a	copy,	even	     CHeCKeD-Bag CHargeS
   if they say the bag will be on the next flight.
                                                              Some airlines may charge you a fee for checking

•	 Get	the	name	of	the	person	who	filled	out	the	form	        your first and/or second bag. To avoid unpleasant
   and a phone number.                                        surprises, see the individual airline’s policy for

                                                              checked baggage before you buy your ticket.

                                                                       Overbooked Flights
     PaCK Smart For a SaFe FlIgHt                                      Selling more tickets than there are seats is not illegal.
                                                                       Most	airlines	overbook	their	flights	to	compensate	for	
     Many	items	we	use	every	day	at	home	can	become	
                                                                       “no-shows.” If there are more passengers than seats
     dangerous when transported by air. In flight,
     variations in temperatures and pressures can cause                just before a plane is scheduled to depart, you can be
     items to leak, emit toxic fumes, or start a fire. If in           “bumped” or left behind against your will. Whether you
     doubt, don’t pack it. To find a list of prohibited items,         are bumped or not may depend on when you officially
     go to or call 1-866-289-9673.                         checked in for your flight, so try to arrive early. The U.S.
                                                                       Department of Transportation requires airlines to ask
                                                                       people to give up their seats voluntarily, in exchange for
                                                                       compensation. Airlines decide what to offer volunteers,
     ProteCt your valuaBleS                                            such as money, a free trip, food or lodging.
     The only way to be sure your valuable possessions                 Federal rules protect you if you are “bumped” on most
     are not damaged or lost is to carry them onboard and              flights within the United States and on outbound
     keep them with you. Items you should plan to pack in              international flights. Passengers who are involuntarily
     your carry-on luggage include:                                    bumped are protected under Federal Aviation
     •	 Small	valuables	(such	as	cash,	credit	cards,	                  Administration guidelines ( If you
        jewelry, cameras, personal computers)                          volunteer to be bumped, you are agreeing to a deal
     •	 Batteries	(including	lithium-ion	batteries)	are	               with the airline that is not regulated and will depend
        not allowed to be carried in checked baggage.                  on negotiating at the gate. The airline must give you
        Put them in your pocket or carry-on bags.                      a written statement describing your rights, as well as
     •	 Critical	items	(medicine,	keys,	passport,	                     the airline’s boarding priority rules and criteria. If the
        business papers)                                               airline is not able to get you to your final destination
                                                                       within two hours of your original arrival time, you
     •	 Irreplaceable	items	(manuscripts,	heirlooms)
                                                                       may be entitled to a maximum of $400 compensation
     •	 Fragile	items	(eyeglasses,	liquids,	glass	containers)          ($800 compensation on international flights within
                                                                       four hours of your original arrival time). The amount
                                                                       depends on the price of the ticket and the length of
                                                                       the delay. To receive this payment, you must have a
     Be WISe WHIle you WaIt                                            confirmed reservation. You must also meet the airline’s
     While waiting for your flight, follow these safety                deadlines for ticketing and check-in. An airline may
     precautions:                                                      offer you a free ticket on a future flight in place of a
     •	 Watch	your	luggage	and	belongings	at	all	times.                check, but you have the right to insist on a check.
     •	 Do	NOT	accept	packages	from	strangers.
     •	 If	you	see	unattended	baggage	or	packages	
        anywhere in the airport terminal or parking area,              A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave
        report them immediately to a security officer                  most foreign countries. The Passport Services Office
        or authority.                                                  provides information and services to American
     •	 Report	any	suspicious	activities	to	airport	security.          citizens about how to obtain, replace or change a
     •	 Do	NOT	joke	about	having	a	bomb	or	firearm.
                                                                       passport. To obtain a passport for the first time,
                                                                       you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport
     •	 Do	NOT	discuss	terrorism,	weapons,	explosives	
        or threats while going through the security
                                                                        overSeaS travel: overCHargeD
                                                                        For ConverSIon FeeS?
companies and travel agencies also offer optional or                    Many	credit	card	issuers	and	banks	
even automatic supplemental baggage coverage.                           tack on an extra currency-conversion
                                                                        charge – up to 3 percent more – on
On those trips when you know you’re carrying more
                                                                        purchases made with your credit
than the liability limits, you may want to ask about                    card when traveling abroad. That
purchasing “excess valuation” from the airline when                     means a $200 jacket you charged in
you check in. Of course, there is no guarantee the                      Italy could show up on your credit bill as
airline will sell you this protection. The airline may                  $206. Be sure to ask your credit card company
refuse, especially if the item is valuable or breakable.                about these fees or shop around for the best deal
                                                                        before you leave the country.

45                                   To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                          •	 Safe travel by air, land and sea – Contact the

 reQuIrementS For PaSSPortS                                  Transportation Security Administration (p. 114) at
                                                    They post tips on dealing with airline
 All travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda,
 Panama,	Mexico	and	Canada	are	required	to	                  security checks, traveling with kids, and warnings on

 have a passport or other secure, accepted                   prohibited items. Click on Travelers and Consumers.
 document to enter or re-enter the United

                                                          •	 What to do before, during, and when you return
 States. Under the Intelligence Reform and
 Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, this                      from a trip overseas – Visit the U.S. Department of
 requirement includes all land border                        State (p. 116) at You can also

 crossings, air and sea travel.                              get warnings on locations to avoid and what to do in
                                                             an overseas emergency.
                                                          •	 Health-related travel information – Consult the

                                                             Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                                                             (p. 112) at Research vaccination
acceptance facilities located throughout the United
                                                             requirements, find information on how to avoid
States with:
                                                             illnesses caused by food and water, and review

•	 Two	photographs	of	you	taken	within	the	                  inspection scores on specific cruise ships.
   last six months

•	 Proof	of	U.S.	citizenship
•	 A	valid	form	of	photo	identification	                   TV
   (such as a driver’s license)

                                                          Aside from an old-fashioned TV with an antenna,
Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and
                                                          you can get television service from cable service
probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and
                                                          providers, satellite TV providers and, in some areas,

a number of county and municipal offices. There are
                                                          your telephone company. You can even watch TV on
also 13 regional passport agencies, and one Gateway
                                                          the	web.	Most	cable	and	satellite	providers	will	also	
City Agency, which serve customers who are traveling
                                                          offer you a bundle of services which include digital
within two weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas

                                                          TV, Internet and phone service, plus a host of added
for travel. Appointments are required in such cases.
                                                          features such as video on demand and premium high-
For more information on how to get a new passport,        definition channels. To help you make sense of it all,

visit                      review the following information.

travel SafetY

Several federal agencies offer advice and information
on the Internet that can help you have a safe trip. For
advice on:

•	 Airline, highway and rail safety information–
   Check out the U.S. Department of Transportation

   (p. 118) at Look up crash-safety
   reports on cars or find out how weather is affecting
   air travel and road conditions.


 BeWare: tImeSHare SCamS

 Be suspicious of timeshare sales pitches that offer

 incentives for attending the sales presentation.
 Many	use	high-pressure	sales	tactics	and	don’t	

 deliver the prizes they promise. One such scam
 promised everyone who attended a new sports boat,
 all they had to do was pay for delivery. The boat

 turned out to be a toy, and the company kept the
 delivery fees. Be sure you can afford before you buy

 timeshares can be difficult to sell.

You can start with a basic lineup of channels and go
                                                                 BeWare oF gaS Seller SCamS .
from there. The more channels you want, the more it              In some parts of the country, there have been
will cost. You may want to consider video on demand              reports of gas and electric companies with door-
so you can order movies and sports events and watch              to-door salesmen who convince homeowners they
                                                                 can save money by switching to their company’s
them when you like (usually within a 24-hour window).
                                                                 5-year contract plan. In some cases, homeowners
You can also buy a bundle of services that includes              who signed up are paying up to 50 percent more
digital TV, digital phone and broadband Internet                 and are also hit by a $250 fee if they want to switch
access at discounted rates. Bear in mind, however,               back to their original supplier.
that you may be asked to sign a contract for bundled
                                                               state utility commissions will also take any complaints
Satellite                                                      you have concerning utility sales and service.
This requires a dish that’s mounted outside (service           Many	utility	companies	now	offer	curbside	recycling	
requires an unobstructed view of the satellite) and a          programs that provide U.S. households with a
receiver that’s placed by your television. Satellite TV        responsible and convenient way to recycle materials.
may offer more channels than cable TV, and you                 To locate information on recycling services and
can add a digital video recorder to record shows               efforts in your area, call the Earth 911 toll-free hotline,
for viewing later. One downside to satellite TV is             800-CLEANUP (800-253-2687) or visit
occasional interference during periods of rain or snow.
Check with your satellite TV provider for channel              electricitY and natural gaS
options and prices. Like cable TV, you may be asked to
sign a contract for a package of services.                     If you have a choice of suppliers, ask:
                                                               •	 How much will it cost? How long can I depend on
internet tv                                                       this rate? Are there any other fees I will be charged?
If you have a high-speed Internet connection, you’re           •	 Are there any other terms or conditions? For
already able to watch thousands of videos on your                 example, is there a fee if I cancel my agreement
computer. But movies and TV shows are also                        before the service period is up?
available and becoming more prevalent as large online
companies start distributing TV programming. While             •	 Whom do I contact if I have a problem? Do you
Internet TV is in its infancy today, it may be the way            have a local customer service office?
you’ll watch TV in the future.                                                   For advice on how to save money
                                                                                 on your energy bills, visit the
digital televiSion (dtv)                                                         U.S. Department of Energy at
The switch from analog to digital television in                         You’ll find
February 2009 offers consumers a clearer picture,                                information to help save energy at
more programming choices, and frees up airwaves                                  home and work. The Energy Savers
for better communications among emergency first                site also provides the latest updates on efficient,
responders and new telecommunications services.                EPA-approved and renewable energy, with links that
For more information about requirements, options               take you directly to available federal resources.
or problems with TV reception, contact your TV
manufacturer or the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA) at, or call 1-888-388-2009.                         IS your Water SaFe?
                                                                 The EPA’s Consumer Confidence Rule requires
                                                                 public water suppliers that serve the same people
     UTiLiTiEs                                                   year-round to provide a Consumer Confidence
                                                                 Report by July 1st each year. The CCR should
                                                                 arrive in your mailbox and provide information
In many states, consumers can choose their telephone             about the quality of the drinking water in your area.
and energy service provider. Contact your state utility          It also summarizes information about the sources
commission (p. 160) to find out whether you have                 of water used (such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or
a choice. Some commissions will provide a list of                aquifers), along with any detected contaminants,
service	providers	and	advice	on	making	a	choice.	Most	           compliance and educational information.

47                           To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).

The majority of consumers rely on local utilities to
provide a safe and ample supply of water. Your local

water agency is responsible for sending you an
annual Consumer Confidence Report that should list

the source of your water, what contaminants may be
in the water, and information on the safety levels of
contaminants and their effects on health.

For more information, call the Environmental
Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
1-800-426-4791 or visit EPA’s website at


 WiLLs & FUnEraLs                                         A durable power of attorney for health care

                                                          (sometimes called a durable medical power of
Planning for the end of life                              attorney) specifies the person you’ve chosen to

                                                          make medical decisions for you. It is activated
It’s unfortunate how many people believe that estate      anytime you’re unconscious or unable to make
planning is only for wealthy people. People at all        medical decisions. You need to choose someone
economic levels benefit from an estate plan. Upon         who meets the legal requirements in your state for

death, an estate plan legally protects and distributes    acting as your agent. State laws vary, but most states
property based on your wishes and the needs of your       disqualify anyone under the age of 18, your health care
family and/or survivors with the least amount of tax      provider, or employees of your health care provider.

                                                          The person you name as your agent must:
Advance medical directives. Everyone faces
                                                          •	 	Be	willing	to	speak	and	advocate	on	your	behalf;
the possibility that sometime during our lifetime,

we may become incapacitated. This often happens           •	 	Be	willing	to	deal	with	conflict	among	friends	and	
when nearing death, but it can also be the result of         family members, if it arises;
a	temporary	condition.	Many	people	assume	their	

                                                          •	 	Know	you	well	and	understand	your	wishes;
spouses or children will automatically be allowed to
make financial and/or medical decisions for them, but     •	 	Be	willing	to	talk	with	you	about	these	issues;
this is not necessarily true. Advance directives are
                                                          •	 	Be	someone	you	trust	with	your	life.

written documents that tell your doctors what kind of
treatment you’ll want if you become unable to make
medical decisions (e.g., if you’re in a coma). Forms      WillS

and laws vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea    A will is the most practical first step in estate
to understand the laws of the state where you live as     planning. It makes clear how you want your property
you write advance directives. It’s also a good idea to    to be distributed after you die.

make them before you are very ill. Federal law requires
hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions that
receive	Medicare	or	Medicaid	funds	to	provide	written	
                                                            taKe anotHer looK
information regarding advanced care directives to
all patients upon admission.                                Once you’ve completed a will and estate plan, it‘s a
                                                            good idea to review it from time to time and consider
A living will is one type of advance directive that
                                                            changes if:
comes into effect when a person is terminally ill. A

living will does not give you the opportunity to select     •	 The	value	of	your	assets	change
someone to make decisions for you, but it allows you        •	 You	marry,	divorce	or	remarry

to specify the kind of treatment you want in specific       •	 You	have	a	child
situations. For example, you might choose to specify

that you do not want to be treated with antibiotics         •	 You	move	to	a	different	state
if death is imminent. You can, if you choose,               •	 The	executor	of	your	will	dies	or	becomes	
include an advance directive that you do not wish              incapacitated or your relationship changes

to be resuscitated if your heart stops or if you stop       •	 One	of	your	heirs	dies
breathing. In this case, a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

                                                            •	 The	laws	affecting	your	estate	change
order would be entered on your medical chart.

                                                                        If you’ve been named executor in someone’s will
     ruleS to rememBer WHen                                             but are not able or do not want to serve, you need
                                                                        to file a “declination,” which is a legal document
     WrItIng a WIll                                                     that declines your designation as an executor. The
     •	 	In	most	states,	you	must	be	18	years	of	age	or	older.          contingent executor named in the will then assumes
     •	 A	will	must	be	written	in	sound	judgment	and	                   responsibility. If no contingent executor is named, the
        mental capacity to be valid.                                    court will appoint one.
     •	 The	document	must	clearly	state	that	it	is	your	will.
     •	 An	executor	of	your	will,	who	ensures	your	estate	
        is distributed according to your wishes, must be                One of the most expensive purchases many
        named.                                                          consumers will ever make is the arrangement of a
     •	 It	is	not	necessary	to	notarize	or	record	your	will	            funeral. A traditional burial, including a casket and
        but these can safeguard any claims that your will               vault, costs about $7,000. Extras such as flowers,
        is invalid. To be valid, you must sign a will in the            obituary notices, cards and limousines can add
        presence of at least two witnesses.                             thousands of dollars more. At such a highly emotional
                                                                        time, many people are easily swayed to believe
                                                                        that their decisions reflect how they feel about the
Writing a will can be as simple as typing out how you                   deceased and wind up spending more than may be
want your assets to be transferred to loved ones or                     necessary.
charitable organizations after your death. If you don’t                 Most	funeral	providers	are	professionals	who	work	
have a will when you die, your estate will be handled                   to serve their clients’ needs and best interests.
in probate, and your property could be distributed                      Unfortunately, some do not. They may take advantage
differently than what you would like.                                   of clients by insisting on unnecessary services,
It may help to get legal advice when writing a will,                    marking up prices and overcharging. That’s why
particularly when it comes to understanding all the                     there is a federal law, called the Funeral Rule, which
rules of the estate disposition process in your state.                  regulates the actions of funeral directors, homes and
For information about legal issues, see page 53. In                     services.
some states, for instance, there is a community-                        Many	funeral	providers	offer	a	variety	of	package	
property law that entitles your surviving spouse to                     plans that include products and services that are most
keep half of your wealth after you die no matter what                   commonly sold. Keep in mind, you are not obligated
percentage you leave him or her. Fees for the execution                 to buy a package plan; you have the right to buy the
of a will vary according to its complexity.                             individual products and services you prefer. As
                                                                        outlined by the Funeral Rule:
chooSe an executor                                                      •	 You	have	the	right	to	choose	the	funeral	goods	and	
An executor is the person who is responsible for                           services you want (with some exceptions).
settling the estate after death. Duties of an executor                  •	 The	funeral	provider	must	state	this	“Rule”	in	writing	
include:                                                                   on the general price list.
•	 Taking	inventory	of	property	and	belongings                          •	 If	state	or	local	law	requires	you	to	buy	any	particular	
•	 Appraising	and	distributing	assets                                      item, the funeral provider must disclose it on the
                                                                           price list, with a reference to the specific law.
•	 Paying	taxes
•	 Settling	debts	owed	by	the	deceased
Most	important,	the	executor	is	legally	obligated	to	act	
in the interests of the deceased, following the wishes
                                                                          PlannIng WISely For a Funeral
provided by the will. Here again, it could be helpful to                  •	 Plan	ahead.
consult an attorney to help with the probate process or                   •	 Shop	around	and	compare	prices	in	advance.
offer legal guidance. In most states, any person over
                                                                          •	 Ask	for	a	price	list.
the age of 18 who hasn’t been convicted of a felony
can be named executor of a will. Some people choose                       •	 Resist	pressure.
a lawyer, accountant or financial consultant based on                     •	 Avoid	emotional	overspending.
their experience. Others choose a spouse, adult child,                    •	 Recognize	your	rights.
relative or friend. Since the role of executor can be
demanding, it’s often a good idea to ask the person                       •	 Apply	smart	shopping	techniques	you’d	use	for	
                                                                             other major purchases.
being named in a will if he or she is willing to serve.

49                                    To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
 tHe Funeral rule
 A federal law makes it easier for you to choose only the
 goods and services you want or need when planning a

 funeral, and to pay only for those you select. The Funeral
 Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission,

 requires funeral directors to give you itemized prices in
 person and, if you ask, over the phone.

•	 The	funeral	provider	may	not	refuse,	or	charge	a	fee,	
   to handle a casket that you bought elsewhere.

•	 A	funeral	provider	who	offers	cremations	must	make	
   alternative containers available.
Planning ahead is the best way to make informed

decisions about funeral arrangements. An advanced
plan also spares your family from having to make

choices in the middle of grief and under time
constraints. Every family is different, and funeral
arrangements are influenced by religious and cultural
traditions, budgets and personal preferences.

You are not legally required to use a funeral home to
plan and conduct a funeral. But most people find that
the services of a professional funeral home make it

Comparison shopping, either in person or by phone,
can save you money and is much easier when done

in	advance.	Many	funeral	homes	will	also	send	you	a	
price list by mail, but this is not required by law.

If you have a problem concerning funeral matters, it’s
best to try to resolve it first with the funeral director. If
you are dissatisfied, the Funeral Consumer’s Alliance

(p. 127) may be able to advise you on how best to
resolve your issue. You can also contact your state
or local consumer protection agencies (p. 130) or the

Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program at
1-800-662-7666.	Most	states	have	a	licensing	board	that	
regulates the funeral industry. You can contact the

board in your state for information or help.

veteranS ceMeterieS

All veterans are entitled to a free burial in a national
cemetery and a grave marker. This eligibility also
applies to some civilians who have provided military-

related service, and some Public Health Service
personnel. Spouses and dependent children also are
entitled to a lot and marker when buried in a national

cemetery. There are no charges for opening or closing

the grave, for a vault or liner, or for setting
the marker in a national cemetery. For more
information, visit the Department of Veterans

Affairs at

                                                                       •	 As	you	do	your	search,	keep	in	mind	the	name	
 part Filing A Complaint
Part II – ii – Filing a Complaint                                         of the manufacturer or parent company is often
                                                                          different from the brand name. The Thomas Register
Even the savviest consumer has problems with a good
                                                                          of American Manufacturers, a book available at many
or service at one time or another. It is your right to
                                                                          public libraries, lists the manufacturers of thousands
complain if you have a genuine consumer problem. It is
also your responsibility. A problem can’t be fixed if no                  of products.
one knows it exists.                                                   •	 With	each	person	you	contact,	calmly	and	
                                                                          accurately explain the problem and what action you
contact the Seller                                                        would like to be taken. A written letter is a good
                                                                          strategy because you will have a record of your
The first step in resolving a consumer problem is
contacting the seller. You can solve most consumer                        communication with the company. The sample letter
problems by talking to a salesperson or customer                          (p. 55) will help you prepare a written complaint.
service representative. Do this as soon as possible                    •	 Be	brief	and	to	the	point.	Note	all	important	facts	
because some retailers have time limits on returns                        about your purchase, including what you bought,
and refunds. If this doesn’t work, ask for a supervisor                   serial or model numbers, the name and location of
or manager. If this fails, try going higher up, to the
                                                                          the seller, and when you made the purchase.
national headquarters of the seller or the manufacturer
of	the	item.	Many	companies	have	a	special	customer	                   •	 State	exactly	what	you	want	done	about	the	problem	
relations or consumer affairs division whose primary                      and how long you are willing to wait for a response.
function	is	solving	consumer	problems.	Many	                              Be reasonable.
companies provide a toll-free number or address for
                                                                       •	 Don’t	write an angry, sarcastic or threatening letter.
this office on the product label, warranty or other
papers given to you at the time of purchase. If this is                   The person reading your letter probably was not
not the case:                                                             responsible for your problem but could be very
                                                                          helpful in resolving it.
•	 Check	the	directory	portion	of	this	Handbook	
   for the contact information of several hundred                      •	 Include	copies	of	all	documents	regarding	your	
   corporations (p. 70).                                                  problem. Keep the originals.

•	 Visit	the	company’s	website.	Look	for	a	                            •	 Provide	your	name,	address	and	phone	numbers.	
   “Contact Us” link.                                                     If an account is involved, be sure to include the
                                                                          account number.
•	 Dial	the	directory	of	toll-free	numbers	at	
   1-800-555-1212 to see if the company has a                          •	 Keep	a	record	of	your	efforts	to	contact	the	seller;	
   toll-free number listed.                                               include the name of the person with whom you spoke
                                                                          and what was done, if anything.
•	 Ask	your	local	librarian	to	assist	you.	Most	
   public libraries have reference books with
                                                                       contact third PartieS
   contact information.
                                                                       Don’t give up if you are not satisfied with the seller’s
                                                                       response to your complaint. Once you have given
                                                                       the seller a reasonable amount of time to respond,
                                                                       consider filing a complaint with one or more of these
                                                                       outside organizations.
     StePS to FolloW WItH
                                                                       Local Politicians. Your local and state politicians
     ComPlaInt reSolutIon                                              who may be able to assist with getting your complaint
     1. Before starting – Start a file or log to                       acted upon.
        record all contacts and documents.                             State or local consumer protection offices
     2. Contact the seller.                                            (p. 130). These government agencies mediate
     3. Contact the manufacturer.                                      complaints, conduct investigations, and prosecute
                                                                       offenders of consumer laws.
     4. Contact Industry Trade Associations.
                                                                       State regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction
     5. Contact local and state Consumer
                                                                       over the business. For example, banking (p. 147),
        Protection/Regulatory/Licensing officers.
                                                                       securities (p. 156), insurance (p. 151), and utilities
     6. Contact the local BBB.                                         (p. 160) are regulated at the state level.

51                                    To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
                                                         Call for Action, Inc., is a nonprofit network of
    Call for Action, Inc.
                                                         consumer hotlines that educate and assist consumers
    5272 River Road, Suite 300
                                                         with consumer problems. Listed below are hotlines in
    Bethesda,	MD	20816
                                                         major markets staffed with trained volunteers who offer
    Phone: 301-657-8260
                                                         advice and mediate complaints at no cost to consumers.
    Fax: 301-657-2914
                                                         Consumers in locations not listed should call the
                                                         Network Hotline	at	301-657-7490.	(M,T,W,F	10	A.M.-2	P.M.)	

    WTAJ-TV                     WXYZ-TV                  WQAD-TV
                                                                                        St.	Louis,	MO
    Altoona, PA                 Detroit,	MI              Moline,	IL
    814-944-9336                248-827-3362             309-764-2255
                                                                                        1-800-782-2222 (IL)
    M-F	1-3	P.M.                M-W	11	A.M.-1	P.M.       M-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.
                                                                                        M-Th	11	A.M.-1	P.M.
    WAGA                        WINK-TV                  WABC-TV                        WFTS-TV
    Atlanta                     Fort	Myers,	FL           New York NY                    Tampa, FL
    404-879-4500                239-334-4357             212-268-5626                   1-866-428-6397
    M-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.          T-Th	11	A.M.-1	P.M.      M-F	10	A.M.-1	P.M.             M-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.
    WBZ Radio                   WFMY-TV                                                 WTOL-TV
                                                         Philadelphia, PA
    Boston,	MA                  Greensboro, NC                                          Toledo, OH
    617-787-7070                336-680-1000                                            419-255-2255
                                                         M-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.
    M-F	11	A.M.-1:30	P.M.       T,W	11	A.M.-1	P.M.                                      T-Th	11	A.M.-1	P.M.	
                                                         T-Th	10	A.M.-1	P.M.
                                                         KPNX-TV & KNAZ-TV &
    WIVB-TV                     KSHB-TV                  The Arizona Republic           KJRH-TV
    Buffalo, NY                 Kansas	City,	MO          Phoenix, AZ                    Tulsa, OK
    716-879-4900                816-932-4377             602-260-1212                   918-748-1488
    M-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.          T-Th	10	A.M.-1	P.M.      1-866-260-1212 (AZ)            T-Th	9	A.M.-noon
                                                         M-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.

   Cleveland, OH                KTNV-TV                  WTAE-TV                       WTOP	AM&FM
   216-578-0700                 Las Vegas, NV            Pittsburgh, PA                Washington, DC
   M,W,Th	10	am-12:30	P.M.      702-368-2255             412-244-4698                  301-652-4357
   702-368-2255                 W-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.       T-Th	10	A.M.-1	P.M.           T-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.
   W-F	11	A.M.-1	P.M.

   KKTV-TV                      WTMJ-TV                  WPRI-TV                       RADIO CULTURE

                                                                                                                           Part II – Filing a Complaint
   Colorado Springs, CO         Milwaukee,	WI            Providence, RI                Buenos Aires, Argentina
   719-457-8211                 414-967-5495             401-228-1850                  011-54-11-4300-1173
   M-Th	11	A.M.-1	P.M.          M-Th	11	A.M.-1	P.M.	     M-Th	11	A.M.-1	P.M.           M-F	11	A.M.-4:30	P.M.

State and local licensing agencies. Doctors,              Trade associations. Companies selling similar
lawyers, home improvement contractors, auto repair        products or services often belong to an industry
shops, debt collectors, and childcare providers           association that will help resolve problems between
are required to register or be licensed. The board        its members and consumers (p. 168).
or agency that oversees this process may handle
                                                          National consumer organizations. Some of these
complaints and have the authority to take disciplinary
                                                                                                                           Part III – Key Information Resources
                                                          organizations assist consumers with complaints.
action. Your state or local consumer protection office
                                                          Others may be unable to help individuals but are
(p. 130) can help you identify the appropriate agency.
                                                          interested in hearing about problems that could
Better Business Bureaus (p. 65). This network             influence their education and advocacy efforts (p. 125).
of nonprofit organizations supported by local
                                                          Media programs. Local newspapers, radio stations,
businesses tries to resolve buyer complaints against
                                                          and television stations often have Action Lines
sellers. Records are kept on unresolved complaints
                                                          or Hotline services that try to resolve consumer
as a source of information for the seller’s future
                                                          complaints they receive. To find these services, check
customers. The umbrella organization for the BBBs
                                                          with your local newspapers or broadcast stations.
assists with complaints concerning the truthfulness
                                                          See the box above for members of “Call for Action.”
of national advertising and helps settle disputes with
automobile manufacturers through the BBB AUTO

LINE program (p. 64).

     diSPute reSolution PrograMS
     Some companies and industries offer programs to
     address disagreements between buyers and sellers.
     The auto industry has several of these programs
     (p. 64). The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
     (FINRA) offers a program designed to resolve
     investment related disputes (p. 166). Some small
     claims courts also offer a dispute resolution program
     as an alternative to a trial.
     Mediation,	arbitration,	and	conciliation are three
     common types of dispute resolution. During
     mediation, both sides involved in the dispute meet with
     a neutral third party and create their own agreement
     jointly. In arbitration, the third party decides how to
     settle the problem. Request a copy of the rules of any
     program before making a decision to participate. You               bank account or business cash register. If the person
     will want to know beforehand if the decision is binding.           who owes the money receives a salary, the court might
     Some programs do not require both parties to accept                order an employer to garnish (deduct money from)
     the decision. Also ask if participation in the program             each paycheck to pay you.
     places any restrictions on your ability to take other
                                                                        Check your local telephone book under the municipal,
     legal action.
                                                                        county or state government headings for small claims
     The American Bar Association (p. 164) publishes                    court offices. Ask the clerk how to use the small
     a directory of state and local dispute resolution                  claims court. Before taking your own case to court,
     programs.                                                          observe a small claims court session and ask the court
                                                                        if it has information that will help you prepare your
     SMall claiMS court                                                 presentation to the judge.
     Small claims courts resolve disputes over small
     amounts of money. While the maximum amount                         legal helP and inforMation
     that can be claimed differs from state to state, court             If you need an attorney to advise or represent you,
     procedures are generally simple, inexpensive, quick                ask friends and family for recommendations. You can
     and informal. Court fees are minimal, and you often                also contact the Lawyer Referral Service of your state,
     get your filing fee back if you win your case. Typically,          county, or city bar association listed in your local phone
     you will not need a lawyer—some states do not permit               directory. Websites such as
     them. If you live in a state that allows lawyers and the           (American Bar Association),,
     party you are suing brings one, don’t be intimidated.    ,, and
     Most	judges	make	allowances	for	consumers	who	            can help you with answers to general
     appear without lawyers. Even though the court is                   legal questions.
     informal, the judge’s decision must be followed.
     If you file a case and win, the losing party should give           Tips For Choosing An Attorney
     you what the court says you are owed without further               Many	lawyers	who	primarily	serve	individuals	and	
     action on your part. But some losers refuse to follow              families are general practitioners with experience in
     the court’s decision. When this happens, you can go                frequently needed legal services, such as: divorce and
     back to court and ask for the order to be enforced.                family matters, wills and probate, bankruptcy and debt
     Depending on local laws, law enforcement officials                 problems, real estate, and criminal and/or personal
     might sell a person’s property or take money from a                injury. Some have a narrower focus. Be sure the lawyer
                                                                        you are considering has experience in the area for
                                                                        which you are seeking help.

      BeWare: reCovery ServICeS                                         Once you’ve identified some candidates:
      A scam artist has taken your money. Don’t be                      •	 Call	each	attorney	on	the	telephone,	describe	
      scammed again by a “recovery service” offering
      to get your money back for you. The service is just
                                                                           your legal issue, and find out if he or she handles
      trying to take your last dime. There is no charge for                your situation.
      filing a complaint with a government agency.                      •	 Ask	if	you	will	be	charged	for	an	initial	consultation.

53                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
•	 Ask	for	an	estimate	of	what	is	usually	charged	           service to specific groups, such as senior citizens or
   to handle your kind of case.                              low-income persons. Contact a law school in your area
                                                             to find out if such a program is available.
•	 Ask	whether	there	are	hourly	charges	or	whether	
   your attorney would accept a percentage of the
   settlement as a fee contingency.                          rePort fraud & SafetY hazard
The initial consultation is an opportunity for you and       If you suspect a law has been violated, contact your
the lawyer to get to know each other. After listening        local or state consumer protection agency (p. 130).
to the description of your case, the lawyer should be        This agency may take action or refer you to another
able to outline your rights and liabilities, as well as      state organization that has the authority where you
alternative courses of action. The initial consultation      live. A local law enforcement officer could also be able
is the lawyer’s opportunity to explain what he or she        to provide advice and assistance.
can do for you and how much it will cost. You should         Violations of federal laws should be reported to the
not hesitate to ask about the attorney’s experience          federal agency responsible for enforcement. While
in handling matters such as yours. Also, do not              federal agencies are rarely able to act on behalf
hesitate to ask about the lawyer’s fees and the likely       of individual consumers, complaints are used to
results. If you are considering going beyond the initial     document patterns of abuse, allowing the agency to
consultation and hiring the lawyer, request a written        take action against a company.
fee agreement before proceeding.
                                                             Throughout Part I of this Handbook, you will find
                                                             references to federal agencies you can contact for
What If You Can’t                                            more information, which is usually the same agency
Afford A Lawyer?                                             to contact with your complaint. You can also find
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may qualify for           the appropriate federal agency by using the online
free legal help from a Legal Aid or Legal Services           directory at
Corporation (LSC) office. These offices generally            resources.htm.
offer legal assistance about such things as landlord         People who have no intention of delivering what is
tenant relations, credit, utilities, family matters (e.g.,   sold, who misrepresent items, send counterfeit goods
divorce and adoption), foreclosure, home equity fraud,       or otherwise try to trick you out of your money are
social security, welfare, unemployment, and workers’         committing fraud. If you suspect fraud, there are some
compensation. If the Legal Aid office in your area does      additional steps to take.
not handle your type of case, it may refer you to other
local, state or national organizations that can provide      •	 Contact	the	Federal	Trade	Commission	(p.	121).
help. Additional resources may be found at                   •	 Scams	that	used	the	mail	or	interstate	delivery	

                                                                                                                                  Part II – Filing a Complaint or                          service should also be reported to the U.S. Postal
To find the Legal Aid office nearest to you, check a            Inspection Service (p. 124). It is illegal to use the mail
local telephone directory or contact:                           to misrepresent or steal money.
  National Legal Aid and Defender Association                Reporting fraud promptly improves your chances
  1625 K Street, NW, 8th Floor                               of recovering what you have lost and helps law
  Washington, DC 20006                                       enforcement authorities stop scams before others
  Phone: 202-452-0620                                        are victimized.
  Fax: 202-872-1031
                                                             If you suspect you have a product that poses a safety
                                                             hazard, report the problem to the appropriate federal

                                                                                                                                  Part III – Key Information Resources
To find the LSC office nearest you, check a local
telephone directory or contact:                              •	 Automobiles. National Highway Traffic Safety
                                                                Administration (p. 119)
  LSC Public Affairs
  3333 K Street, NW, 3rd Floor                               •	 Drugs, medical devices. Food and Drug
  Washington, DC 20007                                          Administration (p. 112)
  Phone: 202-295-1500                                        •	 Food. U.S. Department of Agriculture (p. 108),
  Fax: 202-337-6797                                             Food and Drug Administration (p. 112)
                                                             •	 Seafood. Food and Drug Administration (p. 112),
Free assistance could also be available from a law
                                                                U.S. Department of Commerce (p. 109)
school program where students, supervised by
attorneys, handle a variety of legal matters. Some           •	 Toys, baby and play equipment, household products.

of these programs are open to all. Others limit their           U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (p. 108)

SaMPle coMPlaint letter

                                                                                            Your Address
                                                                               Your City, State, ZIP Code

               Name of Contact Person, if available
               Title, if available
               Company Name
               Consumer Complaint Division (If you have no specific contact)
               Street Address
               City, State, Zip Code

               Dear (Contact Person):

               Re: (account number, if applicable)

                          On (date), I (bought, leased, rented, or had repaired) a (name
                            of the product, with serial or model number or service performed)
         • describe           at (location, date and other important details of the transaction).
                               Unfortunately, your product (or service) has not performed
     • name of product,        well (or the service was inadequate) because (state the
        serial number
                               problem). I am disappointed because (explain the                            • state
                               problem: for example, the product does not work properly,                  problem
        • include date
        and place of          the service was not performed correctly, I was billed the
         purchase            wrong amount, something was not disclosed clearly or was
                                                                                                        • give history
                            misrepresented, etc.).

                   To resolve the problem, I would appreciate your (state the specific action
                   you want—money back, charge card credit, repair, exchange, etc.). Enclosed
                        are copies (do not send originals) of my records (include receipts,
                          guarantees, warranties, canceled checks, contracts, model and
          • ask for         serial numbers, and any other documents).
      specific action
                             I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem, and will
     • enclose copies        wait until (set a time limit) before seeking help from a consumer
       of documents
                            protection agency or the Better Business Bureau. Please
                           contact me at the above address or by phone at (home
                         and/or office numbers with area code).
                                                                                          • allow time
                 Sincerely,                                                                for action

               Your name
                                                                                              • state how you can
                                                                                                  be reached

               keep copies of all of your leTTers, faxes, e-mails, and relaTed documenTs.

55                              To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60)
 part iii – key information resources
Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC)                   Consumer World A one-stop source for consumer 
information. See page 121.                                  A public service website with links to hundreds
                                                            of consumer resources, corporations and                                                 government agencies.
Links you to government representatives, services and
information at the federal, state, regional and tribal      Cooperative State Research, Education,
level. Similar information is posted in Spanish at          and Extension Service (CSREES)                                        Programs cover food and nutrition, housing,
                                                            gardening, budgeting, using credit, saving for
Consumer Sentinel                                           retirement, and more. Visit                                        or
Consumer Sentinel is the unique investigative
cyber tool that provides members of the Consumer            Libraries
Sentinel Network with access to millions of consumer        Publications from many of the organizations
complaints, where you can file a complaint into the         mentioned on this page are available at your local
network using their Complaint Assistant Wizard              public library or visit
Consumer Sentinel includes complaints about:                for teacherS
•	 Identity	Theft
                                                            Teachers often use the Consumer Action Handbook
•	 Do-Not-Call	Registry	violations                          to teach essential information about credit,
•	 Computers,	the	Internet,	and	Online	Auctions             insurance, major purchases, complaint letters and
•	 Telemarketing	Scams                                      other consumer topics. For classroom copies of the
•	 Advance-Fee	Loans	and	Credit	Scams                       Handbook, please e-mail;
•	 Sweepstakes,	Lotteries,	and	Prizes                       include the name and address of your school and
                                                            the number of copies you would like to receive. For
•	 Business	Opportunities	and	Work-at-Home	Schemes
                                                            additional resources, including lesson plans, go to
•	 Health	and	Weight	Loss	Products                 or
•	 Debt	Collection,	Credit	Reports,	and	Financial	Matters
Consumer Sentinel is based on the premise that
sharing information can make law enforcement even

                                                                                                                       Part II – Filing a Complaint
more effective. Consumer Sentinel Network provides
law enforcement members with access to complaints
provided directly to the Federal Trade Commission
by consumers and complaints shared by data
contributors. Consumer Sentinel is free and available
to any federal, state or local law enforcement agency.

Center For The Study of Services
Evaluates quality and price for local services in
major metropolitan areas.
                                                                                                                       Part III – Key Information Resources
Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. (CU)
Researches and tests goods and services such as
automobiles, appliances, food, clothing, luggage,
and insurance. See page 126.

 for PerSonS With diSaBilitieS                                         for MilitarY PerSonnel
 National Council on Disability                                        Today’s military family faces many common consumer A federal agency whose mission is                         challenges, as well as the additional stress associated
 to improve the quality of life for Americans with                     with frequent separation. To ease such difficulties,
 disabilities and their families. See page 122.                        Family Centers, along with the other programs
                                                                       described below, provide help and support for
 National Disability Rights Network                                    military families. Provides legally-based advocacy
 services for people with disabilities.                                U.S. Military Family Centers
                                                                       Located on most military installations, Family
 Department of Education                                               Centers provide information, life skills education, Provides training and information to                       and support services to military members and their
 parents of disabled children and to people who work                   families. One key function of a Family Center is to link
 with them. See page 110.                                              customers with appropriate services available in the
                                                                       local community and/or through state and federal
 Department of Housing and Urban Development                           assistance programs such as those related to health Learn more                      and human services, school systems, employment
 about the housing rights of people with disabilities,                 assistance, law enforcement and recreation.
 and the responsibilities of housing providers and                     If you cannot locate a Family Center, please contact
 building and design professionals.                                    your respective military branch’s headquarters office
                                                                       listed below. The designation “DSN,” preceding some
 National Library Service for the Blind                                of the phone numbers, refers to the military phone
 and Physically Handicapped                                            system and does not apply to the civilian sector. Administers a free loan service of
 recorded and Braille books and magazines, music                       Air Force Community Readiness and
 scores in Braille and large print, plus specially                     Family Support
 designed playback equipment.                                          AF/A1SF 4E235
                                                                       Force Sustainment Division
                                                                       1040 Air Force Pentagon
     ServICeS anD reSourCeS For                                        Washington DC 20330-1040
     ConSumerS WItH DISaBIlItIeS                             
                                                                       Air Force Crossroads is a comprehensive resource
     Relay Services – Telecommunications relay services
     link telephone conversations between individuals who              for Air Force members and their families relating
     use standard voice telephones and those who use text              to nearly every aspect of personal and professional
     telephones (TTYs). Calls can be made from either type             life. With topics that range from health and wellness,
     of telephone to the other type through the relay service.         finances, family matters and recreation, the network
     Local Relay Services – States provide relay services for          includes access to the Air Force Spouse Forum, chat
     local and long distance calls. Please consult your local          rooms, an employment forum, a flea market and links
     telephone directory for information on the use, fees (if          to news sources.
     any), services, and dialing instructions for that area.
     Federal Relay Service – The FRS, a program of the                 Marine Corps Community Services
     U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), provides              3280 Russell Rd.
     access to TTY users who wish to conduct official                  Quantico, VA 22134-5103
     business nationwide with and within the federal                   703-784-0275
     government. The toll-free number is 1-800-877-8339.               DSN: 278-0275
     For more information on relay communications or to
                                                                       Toll	free:	1-800-MARINES
     obtain a brochure on using the FRS, please call toll-free
     1-800-877-0996.                                                   Fax: 703-784-9816
     Other Services – Consumers who are deaf or hard of                The	Personal	and	Family	Readiness	Division	(MR)	
     hearing, or who have speech impairment, and use a
                                                                       provides	a	number	of	Marine	Corps	personnel	service	
     TTY may receive operator and directory assistance
     for calls by calling toll-free 1-800-855-1155.                    programs, such as: Casualty Assistance, DEERS
                                                                       Dependency Determination, Voting Assistance, Postal
     Check the introductory pages of your local telephone              Services,	and	Personal	Claims.	MCCS	delivers	goods	
     directory for additional TTY services.
                                                                       and services at over 2,250 facilities and has a staff of
                                                                       more than 12,000 employees worldwide.

57                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60).
Fleet and Family Support Programs
Commander, Navy Installations Command
2713	Mitscher	Road,	SW,	Suite	300
Washington, DC 20373-5802
1-800-FSC-LINE (372-5463)
The Fleet and Family Support Program delivered by
Commander, Navy Installations Command, provides
support, references, information and a wide range of
assistance for members of the Navy and their families
to meet the unique challenges of the military lifestyle.
Up-to-date news, messages, links and resources
are provided, including assistance with relocation,
employment, career and benefits, healthy lifestyles,
casualties, domestic violence, and retirement.
                                                           U.S. Coast Guard
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
                                                           2100 Second St., SW, Room 6320
Command (FMWRC), Family Programs
                                                           Washington, DC 20593
Directorate, Army Community Service
4700 King St.
                                                           Toll free: 1-800-368-5647 (Safety)
Alexandria, VA 22302
                                                           Toll free: 1-877-NOW-USCG (Recruiting)
                                                           Fax: 202-267-4798
DSN: 761-5375
Fax: 703-681-7236
                                                           The U.S. Coast Guard can provide key resources,	
                                                           including core publications, career information and
The	MyArmyLifeToo	portal	is	the	single	gateway	to	
                                                           related news, as well as comprehensive background
comprehensive information on the support available
                                                           about its mission, community services, history, photos
to Army personnel and families, including resources
                                                           and reports.
to strengthen home and family life, Army basics
training, lifelong learning, finances, employment,
                                                           Military HomeFront
relevant news, along with links to key resources.
                                                           Military	HomeFront	is	the	official	Department	of	
                                                           Defense website for information to help improve the

                                                                                                                             Part II – Filing a Complaint
                                                           quality	of	life	for	troops	and	their	families.	Members	of	
                                                           all branches of the military service and their families
  Better BuSIneSS Bureau                                   will find reliable, up-to-date details and advice on such
  mIlItary lIne                                            topics as education, housing, legal matters, parenting,
                                                           personal finances, pay and benefits, relocation and
  The	BBB	Military	Line,,
                                                           healthcare.	Military	HomeFront	also	makes	it	easier	
  offers consumer education and advocacy to service
  members and their families. Five service-specific        for leaders to locate official quality of life program
  sites contain current military-related consumer          information and resources for their troops and
  news, as well as links to local BBBs and other sites     families. In addition, service providers can access
  with useful consumer information:                        desk guides, policies, forms and other resources.
                                                                                                                             Part III – Key Information Resources
                                                           Military Sentinel
                                                                                      Military	Sentinel	is	a	gateway	to	consumer	education                                  materials covering a wide range of consumer
                                                           protection issues, from auto leasing, to identity
                                                           theft, to work-at-home scams. It allows members of
  Users may request reports, file complaints, and sign     the United States Armed Forces to enter consumer
  up for a custom consumer newsletter. On a local          complaints directly into a database that is immediately
  level, area BBBs provide educational briefings for
                                                           accessible by over 500 law enforcement organizations
  military personnel and their families, and work with
  local businesses to promote ethical treatment of
                                                           throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
  military consumers.                                      These law enforcement agencies use this complaint
                                                           data to target cases for prosecution and other

                                                            Commissaries and Exchanges
 PreDatory lenDIng reStrICtIonS                             Consumers who shop at military commissaries and
                                                            exchanges and who have a question or problem should
 As of October 1, 2007, the Talent-Nelson amendment         contact the local manager before contacting the
 to the John Warner National Defense Authorization          regional offices. If your problem is not resolved at the
 Act allows the Department of Defense to regulate
                                                            local level, then write or call the regional office nearest
 the terms of payday loans, vehicle title loans and tax
 refund loans to active duty service members and their      you. Be sure to discuss the problem with the local and
 dependents. These three products have high interest        regional offices of a commissary or exchange before
 rates, coupled with short payback terms.                   contacting the national headquarters.
 The rule for service members and their dependents
 limits the annual percentage rate on these loans to        Wounded Warrior Resource Center
 36 percent. All fees and charges should be included        The Wounded Warrior Resource Center website
 in the calculation of the rate. The rule also prohibits    (WWRC) provides wounded service members, their
 contracts requiring the use of a check or access           families, and caregivers with information they need
 to a bank account, mandatory arbitration, and              in the areas of military facilities, health care services,
 unreasonable legal notice. Any credit agreement            and benefits. It supports access to the Wounded
 subject to the regulation that fails to comply with        Warrior Resource Call Center and trained
 this regulation is void and cannot be enforced. The        specialists who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days
 rule further provides that a creditor or assignee that     a week by phone at 1-800-342-9647 or by e-mail at
 knowingly violates the regulation shall be subject to
                                                   Information is also
 certain criminal penalties.
                                                            available on how to connect to other families for
 The Department of Defense strongly encourages              support and recreation.
 service members and their families to choose
 alternatives which are designed to help resolve            National Resource Directory
 financial crises, rebuild credit ratings and establish     The National Resource Directory provides wounded, ill
 savings for emergencies. Payday loans, vehicle title       and injured service members, veterans, their families
 loans and tax refund loans can propel an already
                                                            and those who support them with a Web-based yellow
 over-extended borrower into a deeper spiral of debt.
                                                            book. It provides information on, and access to,
                                                            the full range of medical and non-medical services
                                                            and resources needed to achieve their personal
enforcement	measures.	The	information	from	Military	        and professional goals across the transitions from
Sentinel can also be used by members of the JAG             recovery to rehabilitation to community reintegration.
staff and others in the Department of Defense to help       The National Resource Directory is an online
protect armed services members and their families           partnership of the Departments of Defense, Labor and
from consumer protection-related problems.                  Veterans Affairs and provides links to the services
                                                            and resources of federal, state and local governmental
Military OneSource                                          agencies; veteran’s service, non-profit, community-
1-800-342-9674                                              based and philanthropic organizations; professional                                   associations and academic institutions.
Military	OneSource	is	an	excellent	hub	of	information	
and assistance for military personnel and their families.
This 24/7 resource offers a variety of services and tools
dedicated to meeting the special needs and improving
the lives of service men and women, both personally
and professionally. In addition to in-person counseling
and direct links to all of the armed services home sites,
Military	OneSource	offers	advice	and	who-to-contact	
information on matters such as health, education,
training, moving, shopping, legal issues and finances.
Podcasts, webinars, discussion boards and news
feeds cover special topics and provide answers to help
resolve problems.

                                 parT iV – consumer assisTance direcTory

                                                            Table of conTenTs
Automotive	Manufacturers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61                       Equal Employment Opportunity Commission . 120

Automotive Dispute Resolution Resources . . . . . . 64                                      Federal Communications Commission . . . . . . . 120
                                                                                            Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation . . . . . . 121
Better Business Bureaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
                                                                                            Federal	Maritime	Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Corporate Consumer Contacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70                            Federal Reserve Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Federal Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108                Federal Trade Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

    Architectural and Transportation Barriers                                               General Services Administration. . . . . . . . . . . . 121
      Compliance Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108                      National Archives and Records Admin.. . . . . . 122
    Commission on Civil Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108                          National Council on Disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission . . . . 108                                        National Credit Union Administration . . . . . . . 122
    Consumer Product Safety Commission . . . . . . 108                                      National Labor Relations Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
    Department of:                                                                          Office	of	Personnel	Management. . . . . . . . . . . . 122
        Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108             Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation . . . . . . 123
        Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109              Railroad Retirement Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
        Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110           Securities and Exchange Commission . . . . . . . 123
        Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110           Small Business Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
        Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111        Social Security Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
        Health and Human Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111                             Surface Transportation Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
        Homeland Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114                     U.S. Postal Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
        Housing and Urban Development . . . . . . . . 114
                                                                                        National Consumer Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
        Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
        Labor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116    State, County and City Consumer
                                                                                           Protection Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
        State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
        the Interior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117      State Banking Authorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
        the Treasury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117          State Insurance Regulators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
        Transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
                                                                                        State Securities Administrators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
        Veterans Affairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
                                                                                        State Utilities Commissions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
    Environmental Protection Agency . . . . . . . . . . . 119
                                                                                        Trade and Professional Associations . . . . . . . . . . 164

                                    auTomoTiVe manufacTurers

  If you have a problem with a car purchased from a local dealer, first try to work it out with the dealer. If
  the problem is not resolved, contact the manufacturer’s regional or national office. Ask for the consumer
  affairs office.
  If you are still unsuccessful, consider contacting the automotive dispute resolution resources listed at the
  end of this section. The method used to resolve your dispute may be arbitration, conciliation or mediation.
  Decisions of arbitrators are usually binding and must be accepted by both the customer and the business.
  Ask for a copy of the rules of the program before you file your case.
  A local or state consumer agency (p. 130) could also be a useful resource in resolving problems with your
  vehicle. If you have a new vehicle, be sure to ask whether you have any protection under a state lemon law.

Acura                                        Aston Martin

Customer Relations Department                Customer Relations Department                Consumer Assistance Center
1919 Torrance Blvd . 500-2N-7E               U .S . National Headquarters                 PO Box 33169
Torrance, CA 90501-2746                      One Premier Place                            Detroit, MI 48232-5169
310-783-2000                                 Irvine, CA 92618                             Toll free: 1-800-458-8006

Toll free: 1-800-382-2238                    949-341-5800                                 TTY: 1-800-833-2622 (Toll free)
Toll free: 1-800-594-8500                          
  (Roadside Assistance)

                                                                                                                                 Corporate Contacts
Fax: 310-783-3535                            Audi of America, Inc.                        Chevrolet                                Client Relations                             Customer Assistance Center
                                             3800 Hamlin Rd .                             PO Box 33170
Alfa                                         Auburn Hills, MI 48326                       Detroit, MI 48232-5170
Alfa Romeo Distributors of North             Toll free: 1-800-822-2834                    Toll free: 1-800-222-1020
America, Inc .                               Fax: 248-754-6504                             (Customer Service)
1500 Tradeport Drive                                             Toll free: 1-800-243-8872
Orlando, FL 32824                                                                          (Roadside Assistance)

                                                                                                                                 Federal Agencies
407-856-5000                                 BMW of North America, Inc.                   TTY: 1-800-833-2622 (Toll free)                            BMW of North America, Inc .                  Fax: 313-556-5108
                                             Corporate Office                   
American Honda Motor                         Customer Relations
Co., Inc.                                    300 Chestnut Ridge Rd .                      Chrysler
Consumer Affairs Department                  Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677                     Chrysler LLC
1919 Torrance Blvd .                         201-307-4000                                 Chrysler Customer Center

                                                                                                                                 National Consumer
Torrance, CA 90501-2746                      Toll free: 1-800-831-1117                    PO Box 21-8004
310-783-2000                                 Fax: 201-930-8362                            Auburn Hills, MI 48321-8004
Toll free: 1-800-999-1009                                         Toll free: 1-800-992-1997
Fax: 310-783-3273                                                                         Fax: 248-512-8084                                Buick                              
                                             Customer Assistance Center
American Suzuki Motor Corp.                  PO Box 33136                                 Dodge
                                                                                                                                 State & Local
Consumer Relations Department                Detroit, MI 48232-5136                       See: Chrysler LLC
PO Box 1100                                  Toll free: 1-800-521-7300                    Toll free: 1-800-992-1997
3251 East Imperial Hwy . (Zip:               Toll free: 1-800-252-1112          
92821-6795)                                   (Roadside Assistance)
Brea, CA 92822-1100                          TTY: 1-800-323-9935                          Ferrari North America Inc.
                                                                                                                                 Trade & Professional

714-572-1490 (Motorcycle/ATV/                                      Corporate Office
  Marine)                                                                                 250 Sylvan Ave .
Toll free: 1-800-934-0934                                                                 Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
  (Automotive)                                                                            201-816-2600
Fax: 714-524-8499 (Automotive)                                                            Fax: 201-816-2626                                                                            E-mail: administrative@
                                                                                                  ferrariworld .com


                                                             Provided financial support for the publication
      Member of SOCAP International, see page 70             of the Consumer Action Handbook.                               61
auTomoTiVe manufacTurers

Ford Motor Company                         Jaguar Cars                                   Mercedes Benz USA, Inc.
Customer Relationship Center               Customer Relationship Center                  Customer Assistance Center
16800 Executive Plaza Dr .                 555 MacArthur Blvd .                          Three Mercedes Dr .
PO Box 6248                                Mahwah, NJ 07430-2327                         Montvale, NJ 07645
Dearborn, MI 48126                         Toll free: 1-800-452-4827                     Toll free: 1-800-367-6372
313-332-3000                               Fax: 201-818-9770                             Fax: 201-476-6213
Toll free: 1-800-392-3673                           
TTY: 1-800-232-5952 (Toll free)                               Jeep                                          Mercury
                                           See: Chrysler LLC                             See: Lincoln
Ford Dispute Settlement Board                         
PO Box 5120
Southfield, MI 48086-5120
                                           Kia Motors America, Inc.                      Mitsubishi Motors North
Toll free: 1-800-428-3718
                                           Consumer Assistance Center                    America, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-392-3673
                                           PO Box 52410                                  PO Box 6400
 (Ford Customer Service)
                                           Irvine, CA 92619-2410                         Cypress, CA 90630
                                           Toll free: 1-800-333-4542                     Toll free: 1-888-648-7820
GMC                                        Fax: 949-468-4805                   
Customer Assistance Center       
PO Box 33172
                                                                                         Nissan North America, Inc.
Detroit, MI 48232-5172
                                           Land Rover                                    Consumer Affairs Group
Toll free: 1-800-462-8782
                                           A Division of Toyota Motor                    PO Box 685003
Toll free: 1-800-223-7799
                                           Sales, USA, Inc .                             Franklin, TN 37068-5003
(Roadside Assistance)
                                           Customer Relationship Center                  Toll free: 1-800-647-7261
TTY: 1-800-462-8583
                                           555 MacArthur Blvd .                          Fax: 310-771-2025
                                           Mahwah, NJ 07430                    
                                           Toll free: 1-800-637-6837
Hyundai Motor America                      Fax: 201-760-8514                             Oldsmobile
Consumer Affairs                           E-mail: asklr@landrover .com                  Customer Assistance Center
10550 Talbert Ave .                                        PO Box 33171
PO Box 20850
                                                                                         Detroit, MI 48232-5171
Fountain Valley, CA 92728-0850
                                           Lexus                                         Toll free: 1-800-442-6537
                                           Mail Drop L201                                 (Roadside Assistance)
Toll free: 1-800-633-5151
                                           19001 South Western Ave .                     TTY: 1-800-833-9935 (Toll free)
                                           Torrance, CA 90501-2732             
                                           Toll free: 1-800-255-3987
Infiniti                                   TTY: 1-800-443-4999                           Peugeot Motors of
Consumer Affairs                           Fax: 310-468-2992                             America, Inc.
PO Box 685003                                                     Consumer Relations
Franklin, TN 37068-5003
                                                                                         Overlook at Great Notch
Toll free: 1-800-662-6200
                                           Lincoln                                       150 Clove Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-627-4437
                                           PO Box 6128                                   Little Falls, NJ 07424
  (Loan or Lease)
                                           Dearborn, MI 48121                            973-812-4444
                                           Toll free: 1-800-521-4140                     Fax: 973-812-2280
                                                                E-mail: rdarienzo@peugeotusa .net
Isuzu Motors America, Inc.                                                     
Owner Relations Department
                                           Mazda North American
1950 Concept Drive
Warren, MI 48091
                                           Customer Assistance Center
Toll free: 1-800-255-6727
                                           PO Box 19734
Fax: 562-921-9523
                                           Irvine, CA 92623-9734
                                           Toll free: 1-800-222-5500
                                           Fax: 949-727-6703

                                                             Provided financial support for the publication
62         Member of SOCAP International, see page 70        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                              auTomoTiVe manufacTurers

Pontiac                                     Saturn (GMC Corporation)                     Volkswagen Group
PO Box 33172                                Saturn Customer                              of America, Inc.
Detroit, MI 48232-5172                      Assistance Center                            Customer Relations
Toll free: 1-800-762-2737                   100 Saturn Pkwy .                            Hills Corporate Center
Toll free: 1-800-762-3743                   Spring Hill, TN 37174                        3499 West Hamlin Rd .
 (Roadside Assistance)                      Toll free: 1-800-553-6000                    Rochester Hills, MI 48309
TTY: 1-800-833-9935 (Toll free)             TTY: 1-800-833-6000 (Toll free)              Toll free: 1-800-822-8987                             Fax: 931-486-5059                            (Volkswagen)
                                                                 Toll free: 1-800-822-2834 (Audi)
Porsche Cars North                                                                       Fax: 248-754-6504 (Vokswagen)
America, Inc.                               Smart USA                                      or 248-754-6521 (Audi)
Customer Commitment                         2555 Telegraph Rd .                
                                            Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Owner Relations
980 Hammond Dr ., Suite 1000                Toll free: 1-800-762-7887                    Volvo Cars of North
Atlanta, GA 30328                                              America
770-290-3500                                                                             Volvo Cars of North America
Fax: 770-390-3700                           Subaru of America, Inc.                      Corporate Office

                                                                                                                                 BBB                         National Customer Service Center             Customer Service
                                            Subaru Plaza                                 One Volvo Dr ., Bldg . B
Saab Automobile USA                         PO Box 6000                                  Rockleigh, NJ 07647-0915

                                                                                                                                 Corporate Contacts
Customer Assistance Center                  Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-6000                   Toll free: 1-800-458-1552
PO Box 33166                                Toll free: 1-800-782-2783                    Fax: 1-800-992-3970 (Toll free)
Detroit, MI 48232-5166                                 
Toll free: 1-800-955-9007                             Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.
                                            Customer Experience Center
                                            Department WC 11
                                            19001 S . Western Ave .

                                                                                                                                 Federal Agencies
                                            Torrance, CA 90501
                                            Toll free: 1-800-331-4331
                                            TTY: 1-800-443-4999 (Toll free)
                                            Fax: 310-468-7814

                                                                                                                                 National Consumer
                                                                                                                                 State & Local
                                                                                                                                 Trade & Professional

                                                            Provided financial support for the publication
     Member of SOCAP International, see page 70             of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                63
     auTomoTiVe dispuTe resoluTion programs

     BBB Auto Line                                             National Automobile Dealers Association
     Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc .                 AUTOCAP
     4200 Wilson Blvd ., Suite 800                             8400 Westpark Dr .
     Arlington, VA 22203-1838                                  McLean, VA 22102
     703-276-0100                                              Toll free: 1-800-252-6232
     Toll free: 1-800-955-5100                       
     TTY: 703-276-1862                                         NADA is a third-party dispute resolution program
     Fax: 703-525-8277                                         administered through the National Automobile
     E-mail: info@cbbb .bbb .org                               Dealers Association . The national office makes                                               referrals to state auto dealer associations .
     BBB Auto Line is a third-party dispute resolution
     program for automobile manufacturers .                    National Institute for Automotive Service
                                                               Excellence (ASE)
     DOT Auto Safety Line                                      101 Blue Seal Dr . SE, Suite 101
     Office of Defects Investigation                           Leesburg, VA 20175
     1200 New Jersey Ave ., SE                                 703-669-6600
     Washington, DC 20590                                      Toll free: 1-888-273-8373
     Toll free: 1-888-327-4236                       
     TTY: 1-800-424-9153 (Toll free)                           ASE is an independent, national nonprofit
     Fax: 202-366-7882                                         organization founded in 1972 to help improve                               the quality of automotive service and repair
     Consumers can contact the DOT Auto Safety                 through the voluntary testing and certification of
     Hotline to report safety defects in vehicles, tires,      automotive repair professionals . More than 424,000
     and child safety seats . Information is available about   ASE-certified technicians work in dealerships,
     air bags, child safety seats, seat belts, and general     independent repair shops, service stations, auto
     highway safety . Consumers who experience a safety        parts stores, fleets and schools . ASE publishes
     defect in their vehicle are encouraged to report the      several consumer publications about auto
     defect to the Hotline in addition to the dealer or        maintenance and repair .
     manufacturer .
                                                               RV Consumer Group
     International Association of Lemon Law                    Quilcene, WA 98376
     Administrators                                            360-765-3846
     E-mail: ialla@ialla .net                                  Toll free: 1-800-405-3325                                         (Order Desk)
     This organization supports and promotes                   Fax: 360-765-3233
     government agencies that administer motor vehicle         E-mail: rvgroup@rv .org
     warranty and related laws, through the publication
     of a newsletter, consumer and industry education,         RV Consumer Group is a nonprofit organization
     and other intergovernmental activities .                  dedicated to the safety of recreational vehicles .
                                                               This group is not aligned or affiliated with the RV
     Motorist Assurance Program                                industry . It offers books and memberships to help
     Falls Church, VA 22046                                    consumers select the best RV for them .
     Fax: 202-318-0378
     E-mail: webmaster@motorist .org
     MAP accredits those auto repair shops that
     apply and follow industry developed standards
     for inspecting vehicles as well as meet other
     requirements . MAP handles inquiries/disputes
     between accredited shops and customers and offers
     information to consumers about how to locate a
     repair shop, how to talk to a technician and how to
     work successfully with auto repair shops .

                                                                              beTTer business bureaus

 Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) are nonprofit organizations that encourage honest advertising and
 selling practices and are supported primarily by local businesses. BBBs offer a variety of consumer
 services, including: consumer education materials; business reports, particularly unanswered or
 unsettled complaints or other problems; mediation and arbitration services; and information about
 charities and other organizations that are seeking public donations.

 Complaints should be submitted in writing so that an accurate record exists of the dispute. The BBB
 will then present the complaint to the company involved. If the complaint is not resolved, the BBB may
 offer an alternative dispute settlement process. BBBs do not judge or rate individual products or brands,
 handle employer/employee wage disputes or give legal advice.

 If you need help with a consumer question or complaint, call your local BBB or visit their website.

 BBBOnLine ( provides Internet users an easy way to verify the legitimacy of online
 businesses. Companies carrying the BBBOnLine seal have been checked out by the BBB and agree to
 resolve customer concerns.

 BBB	MILITARY	LINE	( offers consumer education and advocacy to service

 members and their families (p. 58).
 The Council of Better Business Bureaus, the umbrella organization for the BBBs, can assist with
 complaints about the truthfulness and accuracy of national advertising claims, including children’s

                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
 advertising; provide reports on national soliciting charities; and help to settle disputes with automobile
 manufacturers through the BBB AUTO LINE program (p. 64).

Council of Better Business             Florence                                             Arkansas
Bureaus, Inc.                          Toll free: 1-800-239-1642
4200 Wilson Blvd ., 8th Floor          256-740-8224                             Little Rock

                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
Arlington, VA 22203-1838                                                        Toll free: 1-800-482-8448
703-276-0100                                                                    501-664-7274
Fax: 703-525-8277                      Toll free: 1-800-239-1642 (North AL)
E-mail: info@bbb .org                  256-533-1640
                                                                                            California                            Mobile
                                       251-433-5494                             Bakersfield
             Alabama                   Montgomery                               661-322-2074

                                                                                                                   National Consumer
Birmingham                             334-273-5530                             Colton
Toll free: 1-800-824-5274                                                       909-825-0490
205-558-2222                                          Alaska                    Culver City
Boaz                                                                            310-945-3166
Toll free: 1-800-239-1642              907-562-0704                             Fresno
256-840-3888                                                                    559-222-8111
                                                                                                                   State & Local
Cullman                                               Arizona                   Long Beach
Toll free: 1-800-239-1642 (North AL)                                            562-216-9240
256-775-2917                           Phoenix
                                       Toll free: 1-877-291-6222                Oakland
                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional

Toll free: 1-800-239-1642 (North AL)
256-355-2226                           Prescott                                 San Diego
                                       928-772-3410                             858-496-2131
334-794-0492                           Tucson                                   San Jose
                                       Toll free: 1-800-696-2827 (South AZ)     408-278-7400

beTTer business bureaus

Santa Barbara               West Palm Beach                                 Indiana
805-963-8657                561-842-1918
                                           Georgia           Toll free: 1-800-359-0979
209-948-4880                                                   (in service area)
West Sacramento             Atlanta                          812-473-0202
916-443-6843                Toll free: 1-866-225-1090        Fort Wayne
                              (outside Metro Atlanta)        Toll free: 1-800-552-4631 (North IN)
            Colorado        404-766-0875                     260-423-4433
                            Toll free: 1-866-225-1090 (GA)
                            706-549-9955                     Indianapolis
Colorado Springs
                                                             Toll free: 1-866-463-9222 (IN)
Toll free: 1-866-206-1800   Augusta                          317-488-2222
719-636-1155                706-210-7676
                                                             South Bend
Denver                      Columbus                         Toll free: 1-800-552-4631
303-758-2100                229-883-0744                     574-675-9315
Fort Collins                706-324-0712
970-484-1348                Macon                                            Iowa
          Connecticut                                        Bettendorf
Wallingford                 912-354-7521
                                                             Des Moines
                                           Hawaii            Toll free: 1-800-222-1600
            Delaware        Honolulu
New Castle                  808-536-6956                                    Kansas
302-230-0108                                                 Topeka
     District of Columbia   Boise                            Wichita
Washington, DC              208-342-4649                     Toll free: 1-800-856-2417 (KS)
202-393-8000                Idaho Falls                      316-263-3146
               Florida                                                   Kentucky
                            Spokane, WA
Clearwater                  Toll free: 1-800-356-1007        Lexington
                            509-455-4200                     Toll free: 1-800-866-6668 (National)
Jacksonville                               Illinois
904-721-2288                                                 Louisville
                            Chicago                          Toll free: 1-800-388-2222 (KY)
Orlando                                                      502-583-6546
407-621-3300                312-832-0500

Miami Lakes                 Peoria
305-827-5363                309-688-3741

Pensacola                   Rockford
850-429-0002                815-963-2222


                                                             beTTer business bureaus

            Louisiana                        Michigan                         Nevada
Alexandria                       Grand Rapids                  Las Vegas
318-473-4494                     616-774-8236                  702-320-4500
Baton Rouge                      Detroit                       Reno
225-346-5222                     248-644-9100                  775-322-0657
Toll free: 1-866-695-4222 (LA)              Minnesota                 New Hampshire
                                 St. Paul                      Concord
Lafayette                        Toll free: 1-800-646-6222     603-224-1991

337-981-3497                     651-699-1111
Lake Charles                                                             New Jersey
Toll free: 1-800-542-7085                   Mississippi
337-478-6253                                                   Trenton

Monroe                           601-707-0960
Toll free: 1-800-960-7756
318-387-4600                                                             New Mexico

                                                                                                          Corporate Contacts
New Orleans                                                    Albuquerque
504-581-6222                     Kansas City                   Toll free: 1-800-873-2224 (NM)
                                 816-421-7800                  505-346-0110
318-222-7575                     Springfield                   Farmington
                                 417-862-4222                  505-326-6501
               Maine             St. Louis

                                                                                                          Federal Agencies
                                 314-645-3300                              New York
Toll free: 1-800-422-2811                                      Amherst
508-652-4800                                    Montana        Toll free: 1-800-828-5000 (NY Only)
                                 Spokane, WA
            Maryland             Toll free: 1-800-356-1007     Buffalo
                                 509-455-4200                  Toll free: 1-800-828-5000

                                                                                                          National Consumer
Baltimore                                                      716-881-5222
                                             Nebraska          Farmingdale
        Massachusetts            Lincoln
                                 Toll free: 1-800-649-6814     New York
Chicopee                          (Outside Lincoln)            212-533-6200
                                                                                                          State & Local
                                 402-436-2345                  Tarrytown
Natick                           Omaha                         212-533-6200
508-652-4800                     Toll free: 1-800-649-6814
Worcester                         (Outside Omaha)
                                                                                                          Trade & Professional

Toll free: 1-866-566-9222

beTTer business bureaus

         North Carolina                          Oklahoma                     Tennessee
Asheville                             Oklahoma City                Chattanooga
828-253-2392                          405-239-6081                 Toll free: 1-800-548-4456
                                                                     (423 & 706 Area Codes)
Charlotte                             Tulsa
Toll free: 1-877-317-7236             918-492-1266
704-927-8611                                                       Clarksville
                                                     Oregon        931-503-2222
336-852-4240                                                       Fayetteville
                                      Lake Oswego                  931-503-2222
Raleigh                               503-212-3027
Toll free: 1-800-222-0950 (East NC)                                Franklin
919-277-4222                                                       615-242-4222
Winston-Salem                                                      Knoxville
Toll free: 1-800-777-8348 (NW NC)     Bethlehem                    865-692-1600
336-725-8348                          610-866-8780
                                      Harrisburg                   Toll free: 1-800-222-8754
                Ohio                  717-364-3250                   (in Service Only)
                                      Moosic                       901-759-1300
330-253-4590                          570-614-4222                 Nashville
                                      Philadelphia                 Toll free: 1-800-989-4222 (Middle TN)
Canton                                                             615-242-4222
Toll free: 1-800-362-0494 (OH)        215-985-9313
330-454-9401                          Pittsburgh                                  Texas
Cincinnati                            412-456-2700
513-421-3015                                                       Abilene
                                             South Carolina        325-691-1533
216-241-7678                                                       Amarillo
Columbus                              803-254-2525
Toll free: 1-800-759-2400                                          Austin
614-486-6336                                                       512-445-2911
Dayton                                                             Beaumont
Toll free: 1-800-776-5301                                          409-835-5348
                                      Toll free: 1-800-948-5791
                                      864-242-5052                 College Station
Lima                                                               979-260-2222
419-223-7010                                  South Dakota         Corpus Christi
Toledo                                                             Toll free: 1-800-379-4222
                                      South Dakota
419-531-3116                                                       361-852-4949
                                      (Omaha, NE office)
Youngstown                            Toll free: 1-800-649-6814    Dallas
330-744-3111                           (NE, SD, IA – Southwest)    214-220-2000
                                                                   El Paso
                                                                   Fort Worth

                                                                     beTTer business bureaus

Longview                                                Virginia
Lubbock                                  Arlington
Toll free: 1-800-687-7890 (S . Plains)   703-276-0100
806-763-0459                             Norfolk
Midland                                  757-531-1300
Toll free: 1-800-592-4433 (TX)           Richmond
432-563-1880                             804-648-0016
San Angelo                               Roanoke
325-949-2989                             540-342-3455

San Antonio
210-828-9441                                       Washington
Texarkana                                Seattle
Toll free: 1-800-372-4222                206-431-2222

                                         Toll free: 1-800-356-1007

                                                                                               Corporate Contacts
Toll free: 1-800-443-0131                509-455-4200
 (903 & 430 Area Codes)
254-755-7772                             Milwaukee
Weslaco                                  414-847-6000

                                                                                               Federal Agencies
                                                  West Virginia
Wichita Falls
Toll free: 1-800-388-1778                Charleston
940-691-1172                             Toll free: 1-866-228-1820

                                                                                               National Consumer
Salt Lake City
Toll free: 1-800-456-3907

                                                                                               State & Local
                                                                                               Trade & Professional

corporaTe consumer conTacTs

     The following directory lists the addresses and phone numbers for hundreds of Corporations.
     Many	companies	have	a	special	department	that	handles	consumer	questions	and	concerns.	Other	
     companies opt to list their corporate headquarters. If you do not find the company you are looking
     for, try checking your public libraries for the following resource books:
            • The Standard & Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives
            • Trade Names Directory
            • Standard Directory of Advertisers
            • Dun & Bradstreet Directory
     To identify the name of a company that manufactures a specific product, check the product label and
     other documents given to you at the time of your purchase. The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers,
     another book available at many public libraries, might also be helpful. It lists the manufacturers of
     thousands of products.
     If you have a complaint about an item or service, it is usually best to go back to the seller BEFORE you
     contact the companies in this directory. Follow up with a letter, phone call or e-mail message to the
     consumer affairs department of the company to let them know about your complaint and whether the
     seller was able to resolve your problem. Consumer affairs offices are set up within companies because
     they want to hear from you.

                                              socap inTernaTional
     Many	of	the	companies	listed	in	this	handbook	are	members	of	the	Society	of	Consumer	Affairs	
     Professionals International (SOCAP). A professional organization established in 1973, the Society’s
     goal is to improve the marketplace for consumers by improving customer care through education
     and networking. SOCAP members are identified in this directory by the SOCAP logo. For more
     information, contact SOCAP (p. 129).

                                               Abbott Laboratories                             ACD Systems
                                               100 Abbott Park Rd .                            Public Relations
                                               Abbott Park, IL 60064-3500                      1312 Blanshard St ., Suite 200
A&W Restaurants, Inc.
                                               847-937-6100 (General Info)                     Victoria, British Columbia V8W2J1
1900 Colonel Sanders Lane                                                                      250-419-6700
PO Box 34550 (Zip 40232)                       Toll free: 1-800-323-9100
                                                (Diagnostic products)                          250-419-6701 (Customer Serv . &
Louisville, KY 40213                                                                             Technical Issues)
Toll free: 1-866-456-2929                      Toll free: 1-800-222-6883
                                                (Vascular Products)                            Toll free: 1-888-359-8449                                                                            (Customer Service)
                                               Toll free: 1-800-255-5162
                                                (Pharmaceuticals)                              Fax: 250-419-6745 (Customer Serv .
A. J. Wright
                                                                         & Technical Issues)
See: TJX Companies, Inc .                                                            
E-mail: aj-wright .com
                                               ABC, Inc.                                                                ACE USA Companies
                                               500 South Buena Vista St .
                                               Burbank, CA 91521-4551                          Customer Services
AAMCO Transmissions, Inc.
                                               818-460-7477                                    PO Box 1000
201 Gibraltar Rd .                                                                             436 Walnut St .
Horsham, PA 19044                    
                                                                                               Philadelphia, PA 19106
610-668-2900, ext . 224                                                                        215-640-4555
                                               Accor North America
Toll free: 1-800-292-8500, ext . 224                                                           Fax: 215-640-2489
Fax: 610-664-5897                              4001 International Pkwy .
                                               Carrollton, TX 75007                  
E-mail: awright@AAMCO .com                                  972-360-9000

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
70            Member of SOCAP International, see page 70        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Activision Blizzard                           Alaska Airlines                                  Alltel Corporation
Comments                                      Horizon Air                                      Corporate
6060 Center Dr ., 5th Floor                   Consumer Care                                    One Allied Dr ., Building 4, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045                         PO Box 24948-SEAGT                               Little Rock, AR 72202
310-649-8033 (Technical Support)              Seattle, WA 98124-0948                           Toll free: 1-800-255-8351
Toll free: 1-800-757-7707                     206-431-3647 (Horizon Air)                       TTY: 1-800-579-9778
 (Customer Service)                           206-392-6580 (Baggage Claims)                    206-392-7722 (Refunds/Lost Tickets)              Customer Relations – Call Center
                                              Toll free: 1-800-654-5669                        2001 NW Sammamish Rd .
Adidas America                                 (Customer Care)                                 Issaquah, WA 98027
Consumer Service                              Fax: 206-392-7587                                425-313-5200
5055 North Greeley Ave .                                  

Portland, OR 97217
Toll free: 1-800-448-1796                     Alberto Culver Co.                               Aloha Air Cargo
Fax: 971-234-4515                             Consumer Relations                               371 Aoka Place
E-mail: consumer .relations@                  2525 Armitage Ave .                              Honolulu, HI 96819
         adidas .com                          Melrose Park, IL 60160                           808-836-4191

                                                                                                                                         BBB                                708-450-3000                                     Toll free: 1-888-942-5642                            Toll free: 1-800-333-0005                         (Customer Care)
                                              Fax: 708-450-2299                                Fax: 808-836-41990

                                                                                                                                         Corporate Contacts
Adobe Systems Inc.                                          
345 Park Ave .
San Jose, CA 95110-2704                       Albertsons Inc.                                  Amana Appliances
408-536-6000                                  250 Parkcenter Blvd .                            Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-800-833-6687                     Boise, ID 83706                                  553 Benson Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-642-3623                     Toll free: 1-877-932-7948                        Benton Harbor, MI 549022
 (Technical Support)                           (Customer Care)                                 Toll free: 1-800-688-9900
Fax: 408-537-6000                                                   (Consumer Affairs) (Maytag)

                                                                                                                                         Federal Agencies                                                                                  Toll free: 1-800-628-5782
                                              Alcon Laboratories, Inc.                          (National Service) (Amana)
Aerus Electrolux Corporation                  Consumer Affairs QA-Q122                         Toll free: 1-800-462-9824
Customer Service                              6201 South Freeway                                (National Parts)
300 East Valley Dr .                          Fort Worth, TX 76134                   
Bristol, VA 24201                             817-551-8454
Toll free: 1-800-243-9078                     Toll free: 1-800-757-9780              , Inc.
Fax: 276-645-2863                             Fax: 817-551-3092                                Customer Service

                                                                                                                                         National Consumer
E-mail: customerservice@                      E-mail: consumeraffairs .ft .worth               PO Box 81226
         aerusonline .com                              @alconlabs .com                         Seattle, WA 98108-1226                                                 206-266-1000
                                                                                               Toll free: 1-800-201-7575
AETNA, Inc.                                   Allied Van Lines, Inc.                           Fax: 206-266-2335
151 Farmington Ave .                          Customer Service                       
Hartford, CT 06156                            PO Box 4403
                                                                                                                                         State & Local
860-273-0123                                  Chicago, IL 60680-4403                           AMD
Toll free: 1-800-872-3862                     Toll free: 1-800-510-7469                        One AMD Place
  (Outside CT)                                Toll free: 1-800-470-2851                        PO Box 3453                                 Fax: 630-717-3123                                Sunnyvale, CA 94088-3453
                                              E-mail: custsvc@alliedvan .com                   408-749-4000
                                                                                                                                         Trade & Professional

Alamo Rent A Car                                                       Toll free: 1-800-538-8450
8421 Saint John Industrial Dr .                                                      
St . Louis, MO 63114-4551                     Allstate Insurance Co.
314-256-5271                                  2775 Sanders Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-445-5664                     Northbrook, IL 60062
E-mail: crelations@alamo .com                 847-402-5000                                 Toll free: 1-800-255-7828

                                              Fax: 847-418-5966
                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                    71
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

America Online, Inc.                          American Standard, Inc.                        Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Member Services                               Consumer Affairs                               Customer Call Center
22000 AOL Way                                 PO Box 6820                                    One Busch Place
Dulles, VA 20166                              One Centennial Plaza                           St . Louis, MO 63118
703-265-1000                                  Piscataway, NJ 08855-6820                      Toll free: 1-800-342-5283
Toll free: 1-800-827-6364                     Toll free: 1-800-442-1902            
Fax: 703-918-1400                             Fax: 732-980-6170                                                Apple Computer, Inc.
                                                                                             One Infinite Loop
American Airlines, Inc.                       American Tourister                             Cupertino, CA 95014
PO Box 619612, MD 2400                        See: Samsonite Corporation                     Toll free: 1-800-676-2775
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612                    Toll free: 1-800-547-2247                       (Customer Service)
817-967-2000                                   (Web Orders)                                  Toll free: 1-800-275-2273
817-967-4162                                               (Extended Service and Support)
Fax: 817-967-4162                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-800-2775 (Education)                                    America’s Favorite Chicken                     TTY: 1-800-767-2775
                                              Co. (AFC Enterprises)                           (Disability Solutions)
American Automobile                           5555 Glenridge Connector NE,         
Association                                    Suite 300
Member Relations                              Atlanta, GA 30342                              Applebee’s
1000 AAA Dr ., Mailspace 61                   Toll free: 1-800-222-5857                      11201 Renner Blvd .
Heathrow, FL 32746                                                     Lenexa, KS 66219
407-444-8391                                                                                 913-890-0100
Fax: 407-444-8416                             Amgen, Inc.                                    Toll free: 1-888-592-7753                                   Customer Service Department                      (Guest Relations)
                                              One Amgen Center Dr .                
American Express Co.                          Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-1799
Consumer Relations                            805-447-1000                                   Appleseed’s
777 American Express Way                      Toll free: 1-800-282-6436                      Customer Service
Ft . Lauderdale, FL 33337                     Fax: 805-447-1010                              PO Box 176
212-640-2000                                                          Jessup, PA 18434
Toll free: 1-800-528-4800                                                                    Toll free: 1-888-430-5711
  (Green Card Inquiries)                      Amway Corporation                              Fax: 800 .755 .7557
Toll free: 1-800-327-2177                     Customer Service – North American              E-mail: CustomerService@
  (Gold Card Inquiries)                       Business Region                                         Appleseeds .com
Toll free: 1-800-525-3355                     7575 Fulton St . East                
  (Platinum Card Inquiries)                   Ada, MI 49355-0001
Toll free: 1-877-877-0987                     616-787-6000                                   Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.
  (Centurion Card Inquiries)                  Toll free: 1-800-253-6500                      Corporate                        (Customer Service)                            1155 Perimeter Center West
                                              Toll free: 1-800-544-7167                      Atlanta, GA 30338
American Greetings Corp.                       (Locate Distributor)                          678-514-4100
Consumer Relations                            TTY: 1-800-548-3878 (Toll free)                Fax: 678-514-5347
One American Rd .                             Fax: 616-682-4000                    
Cleveland, OH 44144                           E-mail: order .support@quixtar .com
216-252-7300                                                          Arizona Mail Order
Toll free: 1-800-777-4891                                                                    PO Box 27800
Toll free: 1-800-321-3040                     Andersen Windows, Inc.                         Tucson, AZ 85713
E-mail: consumer .relations@                  Window Care Call Center                        Toll free: 1-800-362-8410
         amgreetings .com                     100 Fourth Ave . North                         Toll free: 1-800-964-1975 (Fax)
www.corporate.                                Bayport, MN 55003-1096                         E-mail: CustomerService@                         651-264-5150                                            OldPuebloTraders .com
                                              Toll free: 1-888-888-7020            
                                              Fax: 651-264-5827

                                                              Provided financial support for the publication
72           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Armstrong World                               AT&T, Inc.                                       AxA Equitable Co., Inc. (AxA
Industries, Inc.                              See: AT&T                                        Financial, Inc.)
Customer Service                              Customer Relations                               1290 Ave . of the Americas –12 Floor

PO Box 3001 (Zip: 17603)                      175 East Houston St .                            New York, NY 10104
2500 Columbia Ave .                           San Antonio, TX 78205                            212-554-1234
Lancaster, PA 17604                           210-821-4105                           
717-397-0611                                  Toll free: 1-800-464-7928
Toll free: 1-800-233-3823                     Fax: 210-351-2071                                                  B
Fax: 717-396-4270                                                                                                 B&H Photo Video
                                              Ateeco, Inc.
A.T. Cross Company                                                                             420 9th Ave .
                                              Consumer Affairs Department
Consumer Relations                                                                             New York, NY 10001
                                              PO Box 606

One Albion Rd .                                                                                212-502-6234
                                              600 East Center St .
Lincoln, RI 02865-3700                                                                         Toll free: 1-800-336-7408
                                              Shenandoah, PA 17976-0606
401-333-1200                                                                                   Fax: 212-239-7759
Toll free: 1-800-282-7677                                                            
                                              Toll free: 1-800-233-3170
Fax: 401-334-4351                             Fax: 570-462-1392

                                                                                               Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.
E-mail: consumerre@cross .com                                       Consumer Services
                                              Atlas World Group, Inc                           2100 Biscayne Blvd .

                                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
AT&T                                                                                           Miami, FL 33137
                                              Customer Service
AT&T Mobility                                                                                  Toll free: 1-800-222-2734
                                              1212 St . George Rd .
Glenridge Highlands Two                                                              
                                              Evansville, IN 47711-2364
5565 Glenridge Connector                      812-424-2222                                     Bali Company
Atlanta, GA 30342                             Toll free: 1-800-638-9797                        PO Box 450
Toll free: 1-800-331-0500                     Fax: 812-421-7129                                Winston-Salem, NC 27102
TTY: 1-866-241-6567                                           336-519-6053
Fax: 1-888-938-4715

                                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
                                              Avis Rent-A-Car System                           Toll free: 1-800-225-4872
                                              Customer Service
AT&T                                          4500 South 129th East Ave .                      Bally Total Fitness
Executive Appeals Manager                     PO Box 699000                                    Corporation
AT&T                                          Tulsa, OK 74169-9000                             Member Services
675 West Peachtree St ., NE, #37D57           Toll free: 1-800-352-7900                        PO Box 1090
Atlanta, GA 30375                             TTY: 1-800-331-2323                              PO Box 1080 (payment)

                                                                                                                                      National Consumer
404-927-7400                                  Fax: 918-621-4819                                Norwalk, CA 90651-1090 (1080)
Toll free: 1-800-346-9000                     E-mail: custserv@avis .com                       562-484-2980
TTY: 1-800-251-5325 (Toll free)                                          Toll free: 1-800-515-2582
Fax: 404-584-6545
                                              Avon Products, Inc.                              Toll free: 1-866-402-2559
E-mail: Headquarters .Appeals
         @att .com                            Consumer Information Center
                                                                                               Fax: 773-693-2982                                   1251 Avenue of the Americas
                                                                                                                                      State & Local
                                              New York, NY 10020
AT&T Wireless Services, Inc.                  212-282-7000                                     Bank of America Corporation
See: AT&T                                     Toll free: 1-800-445-2866                        100 North Tryon St .                           (Product Information Center)                    Mail Code NC1-007-58-16
                                              Toll free: 1-800-367-2866                        Charlotte, NC 28255-0001
                                               (Consumer Information Center)
                                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional

                                                                                               Toll free: 1-800-432-1000

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70              of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                  73
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

BankUnited                                    Bear Creek Corp.                                 Best Foods
Customer Service                              2500 South Pacific Hwy .                         Consumer Services
7815 NW 148th St .                            PO Box 299                                       920 Sylvan Ave ., 2nd Floor
Miami Lakes, FL 33016                         Medford, OR 97501                                Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632-9976
Toll free: 1-877-779-2265                     541-864-2121                                     Toll free: 1-800-418-3275                            Toll free: 1-800-345-5655                         (Consumer Services)
                                               (Harry and David)                     
Baskin Robbins                                Fax: 541-776-2194
Dunkin Brands Consumer Care                                     Best Western International, Inc.
130 Royall St .                                                                                Customer Relations
Canton, MA 02021                              Beech-Nut Nutrition                              PO Box 42007
Toll free: 1-800-859-5339                     Corporation                                      Phoenix, AZ 85080-2007                         Consumer Affairs                                 623-780-6000
                                              13023 Tesson Ferry Rd ., Suite 105               Toll free: 1-800-780-7234
Bass Pro Shops, Inc.                          St . Louis, MO 63128                             (Reservations Assistance)
2500 East Kearney                             314-436-7667                                     Toll free: 1-800-528-1238
Springfield, MO 65898                         Toll free: 1-800-233-2468                          (Customer Relations)
417-873-5000                                   (BEECH-NUT)                                     TTY: 1-800-528-2222 (Toll free)
Toll free: 1-800-227-7776                     Fax: 314-436-7679                                Fax: 623-780-6199
Toll free: 1-800-976-6344                                  
  (Customer Service)
Toll free: 1-800-554-5488 (Catalog)           Beiersdorf Inc                                   BIC Corp
TTY: 1-800-442-5788 (Toll free)               Consumer Relations                               Consumer Affairs Department
Fax: 417-873-5060                             Wilton Corporate Center                          One Bick Way, Suite 1                               187 Danbury Rd .                                 Shelton, CT 06484
                                              Wilton, CT 06897                                 203-783-2000
Bath & Body Works                             203-563-5800                           
Seven Limited Pkwy . East                     Toll free: 1-800-227-4703
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068                        Fax: 203-563-5890                                Big Lot Stores, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-756-5005                                          Customer Relations
Toll free: 1-800-395-1001                                                                      300 Phillipi Rd .                      Bellisio                                         Columbus, OH 43228-0512
                                              See: Michelina’s (Luigino’s, Inc .)              614-278-6800
Bayer HealthCare                                                Toll free: 1-800-877-1253
Consumer Care                                                                        
Consumer Relations/Consumer Care              Benihana Inc.
36 Columbia Rd .                              Customer Relations Manager                       Birds Eye Foods, Inc.
PO Box 1910                                   8685 Northwest 53rd Terrace                      PO Box 20670
Morristown, NJ 07962-1910                     Miami, FL 33166                                  Rochester, NY 14602-0670
973-254-5000                                  305-593-0770                                     920-435-5300
Toll free: 1-800-331-4536                     Toll free: 1-800-327-3369                        Toll free: 1-800-563-1786
Fax: 973-408-8000                             Fax: 305-592-6371                                 (Birds Eye, Freshlike, Nalley or                    E-mail: customerrelations@                        Berstein’s products)
                                                       benihana .com                           Toll free: 1-800-270-2743 (Other)
BD (Becton, Dickinson                                      
and Company)
One Becton Dr . MC376                         Best Buy Company, Inc.
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417                      Complaint Dept .
201-847-6800                                  7601 Penn Ave . South
Toll free: 1-888-232-2737                     Richfield, MN 55423
Toll free: 1-800-255-6334                     612-291-1000
  (Education Center)                          Toll free: 1-888-237-8289
Toll free: 1-888-237-2762           
  (Customer Service)

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
74           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Bissell Homecare, Inc.                        Bojangles’ Restaurants, Inc.                     Bristol-Myers Squibb
Consumer Service                              Customer Relations                               Company
2345 Walker Ave ., NW                         9432 Southern Pine Blvd .                        Customer Relations
PO Box 3606 (Zip 49501)                       Charlotte, NC 28273                              PO Box 4000
Grand Rapids, MI 49544-2597                   704-527-2675                                     Princeton, NJ 08543-4000
616-453-4451                                  Toll free: 1-888-300-4265                        609-252-4000
Toll free: 1-800-237-7691                      (Customer Service)                              Toll free: 1-800-332-2056
 (Consumer Service)                           Fax: 704-523-6803                                Fax: 609-897-6016
Fax: 616-791-7711                                         
                                              BP Corporation                                   British Airways
Black and Decker (US) Inc.                    Consumer Relations                               75-20 Astoria Blvd .
Customer Service                              PO Box 3011                                      Jackson Heights, NY 11370

101 Schilling Rd .                            Naperville, IL 60563                             Toll free: 1-800-247-9297
Hunt Valley, MD 21031                         Toll free: 1-800-333-3991                        Toll free: 1-800-828-8144
Toll free: 1-800-544-6986 (Customer           Fax: 630-300-5254                                 (Baggage Claims)
 Service/Product Support)                     E-mail: bpconsum@bp .com                         Toll free: 1-800-403-0882
Toll free: 1-888-678-7278 (Parts)                                           (Online Support)

Toll free: 1-800-328-0590                                                                      TTY: 1-866-393-0961 (Reservations)
 (DIY Books/Publishing)                       Braun                                            Fax: 347-418-4395                        Proctor & Gamble                       

                                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
                                              One Gillette Park
Blockbuster Entertainment                     Boston, MA 02127-1096                            Brother International
Corp.                                         Toll free: 1-800-272-8611                        Corporation
1201 Elm St .                                                           Customer Service
Dallas, TX 75270                                                                               100 Somerset Corp . Blvd .
Toll free: 1-866-692-2789                     The Breathe Right Company                        Bridgewater, NJ 08807-0911
 (Blockbuster Online)                         CNS, Inc .                                       908-704-1700
E-mail: online .comsumerrelations             20 Troy Rd .                                     Toll free: 1-877-276-8437

                                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
         @blockbuster .com                    Whippany, NJ 07981                               Fax: 1-877-268-9575                           Toll free: 1-800-858-6673              
                                              E-mail: cnsinfo@consumerfirst .com
Bloomingdale’s, Inc.                                             Brown Shoe Company, Inc.
New York, NY 10022                                                                             Consumer Care
212-705-2000                                  Bridgestone Firestone LLC                        8300 Maryland Ave .
Toll free: 1-800-950-0047                     Consumer Affairs                                 St . Louis, MO 63105

                                                                                                                                     National Consumer
 (Credit Inquiries)                           PO Box 7988                                      314-854-4000                         Chicago, IL 60680-9534                           Toll free: 1-800-766-6465
                                              Toll free: 1-800-367-3872                        Fax: 314-854-4274
Bob Evans Farms, Inc.                         Fax: 204-987-1359                                E-mail: info@brownshoe .com
3776 South High St .                          E-mail: firestone_consumer_affairs     
Columbus, OH 43207                                     @inspyresolutions .com
614-491-2225                                  www.firestonecomplete                            Brown-Forman
                                                                                               Beverages Worldwide
                                                                                                                                     State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-272-7675           
Fax: 614-497-4330                                                                              Consumer Services
E-mail: tammy .myers@bobevans .com            Brio Tuscan Grill                                PO Box 1080                              Toll Free: 1-888-452-7286                        Louisville, KY 40201
                                                                                               Toll free: 1-800-753-4567
                                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional


                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                75
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Brunswick Corporation                        Burlington Coat Factory                        Canon USA, Inc
Service Department                           Direct Corporation                             One Canon Plaza
One North Field Court                        1830 Route 130 North                           Lake Success, NY 11042-1198
Lake Forest, IL 60045-4811                   Burlington, NJ 08016                           Toll free: 1-800-828-4040
847-735-4700                                 609-387-7800                         
Fax: 847-735-4765                            Toll free: 1-888-223-2628
E-mail: services@brunswick .com              Fax: 609-387-7071                              Captain D’s Seafood                                    1717 Elm Hill Pike, Suite A-1
                                                                                            Nashville, TN 37210
Buca di Beppo                                Bush Brothers & Company                        615-391-5461
Buca, Inc .                                  Consumer Relations                             Toll free: 1-800-314-4819, opt . 1
1300 Nicollet Mall, Suite 5003               PO Box 52330                                   Fax: 615-231-2309
Minneapolis, MN 55403                        Knoxville, TN 37950-2330             
612-225-3400                                 865-558-5445
Toll free: 1-866-328-2822                    E-mail: letters@bushbros .com                  CARFAx, Inc.
Fax: 612-827-6446; 612-225-3302                                  Consumer Affairs
E-mail: famiglia@bucainc .com                                                               5860 Trinity Pkwy ., Suite 600                                          C                              Centerville, VA 20120
                                                                                            703-218-0340 (Consumer Affairs)
Budget Rent A Car System, Inc.                                                              703-934-2664
                                             Cabela’s Government Outfitter
Customer Service                                                                            Fax: 1-866-728-6455 (Toll free)
                                             Government Sales
4500 South 129th East Ave .                                                                 E-mail: carfaxwebsupport@carfax .com
                                             One Cabela Dr .
PO Box 69084                                                                      
                                             Sidney, NE 69160
Tulsa, OK 74169-0840
                                             Toll free: 1-800-242-1596                      Carnival Cruise Lines
Toll free: 1-800-214-6094
                                             TTY: 1-800-695-5000 (Toll free)                Guest Relations
  (Customer Service)
                                             Fax: 888-248-8311                              3655 NW 87th Ave .
Toll free: 1-800-404-8033
                                             E-mail: government@cabelas .com                Miami, FL 33178-2428
  (Technical Assistance)
Toll free: 1-800-527-0700
(Reservations)                               Cablevision Systems, Inc.                      Toll free: 1-800-438-6744
Toll free: 1-800-283-4382                                                                   Toll free: 1-888-227-6482
                                             1111 Stewart Ave .
   (Moving Truck Customer Service)                                                          TTY: 1-800-972-4386
                                             Bethpage, NY 11714
Toll free: 1-800-354-2847                                                                   Fax: 305-406-4700
  (Roadside Assistance)                                                           
                                             Toll free: 1-800-244-2328
TTY: 1-800-826-5510 (hearing       
impaired); 1-800-526-6408                                                                   Carrier Air Conditioning Co.
  (drivers with disabilities)                Calvin Klein                                   Customer Relations                                                                              PO Box 4808
                                             1001 Frontier Rd .
                                                                                            Syracuse, NY 13221-4808
                                             Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Bulova Corporation                                                                          Toll free: 1-800-227-7437
Customer Relations                                                                           (Customer Service Hotline)
                                             Fax: 212-221-4541
One Bulova Ave .                                                                            Fax: 315-432-6620
Woodside, NY 11377                                                                
718-204-4603 (Technical Assistance)          Campbell Soup Co.
Toll free: 1-800-228-5682 (Hotline)                                                         Carvel Corporation
                                             Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-800-233-3350                                                                   Retail Stores/Food Service
                                             One Campbell Place
  (Service Department)                                                                      301 Congress Ave ., Suite 1100
                                             Camden, NJ 08103-1701
Fax: 718-204-3546                                                                           Austin, TX 78701
                                             Toll free: 1-800-257-8443                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-322-4848
                                                                                            Fax: 512-236-3700

                                                             Provided financial support for the publication
76          Member of SOCAP International, see page 70       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                           corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Casio, Inc.                                    The Cheesecake Factory                           Chuck E Cheese’s
570 Mount Pleasant Ave .                       26901 Malibu Hills Rd .                          Restaurants
Dover, NJ 07801                                Calabasas Hills, CA 91301                        4441 West Airport Freeway
973-361-5400                                   818-871-3000                                     PO Box 152077
Toll free: 1-800-962-2746                      Fax: 818-871-3001                                Irving, TX 75015
Fax: 973-537-8926                                         972-258-8507                                                                                   Toll free: 1-888-778-7193
                                               Chevron Corporation                              Fax: 972-258-8545
Casual Male Retail Group                       6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd .             
555 Turnpike St .                              San Ramon, CA 94583
Canton, MA 02021                               925-842-1000                                     Church & Dwight
781-828-9300                                   832-854-6000                                     Company, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-767-0319                      Toll free: 1-800-962-1223                        Consumer and Professional

Fax: 800-225-6072                                                      Relations                                                                                 469 North Harrison St .
                                               Chicken of the Sea                               Princeton, NJ 08543-5297
The CBS Television Network                     International                                    609-683-5900
Audience Services                              Consumer Affairs                                 Toll free: 1-800-524-1328

524 West 52nd St .                             9330 Scranton Rd ., Suite 500          
New York, NY 10019-6198                        PO Box 85568 (Zip: 91286)
212-975-4221                                   San Diego, CA 92121                              CIBA Vision

                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
E-mail: audsvcs@cbs .com                       858-597-4242                                     Consumer Relations                                    Toll free: 1-800-456-1511                        11460 Johns Creek Pkwy .
                                               Fax: 858-597-4248                                Duluth, GA 30097
Cellullar One                                                  678-415-3937
401 East Memorial Rd ., Suite 500                                                               Toll free: 1-800-227-1524
Oklahoma City, OK 73114                        Chick-Fil-A, Inc.                      
Toll free: 1-800-934-3996                      5200 Buffington Rd .                          Atlanta, GA 30349-2998                           Cingular Wireless

                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
                                               404-765-8000                                     See: AT&T
Chanel, Inc.                                   Toll free: 1-866-232-2040                        175 East Houston St .
Customer Service                                (Customer Feedback)                             San Antonio, TX 78205
9 West 57th St ., 44th Floor                                       210-821-4105
New York, NY 10019-2790                                                                         611 (from wireless phone for
212-688-5055                                   Chili’s Grill and Bar                              Cingular customers only)
Toll free: 1-800-550-0005                      Restaurant Support Center                        Toll free: 1-800-331-0500

                                                                                                                                       National Consumer                                 6820 LBJ Freeway                                 TTY: 1-866-241-6567
                                               Dallas, TX 75240                                 Fax: 210-351-2071
Chase Bank (J.P. Morgan                        972-980-9917                           
Chase Bank)                                    Toll free: 1-800-983-4637                        corporate website
270 Park Ave .                                  (Guest Relations)
New York, NY 10017                                                      Circuit City Stores, Inc.
212-270-6000                                                                                    9954 Mayland Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-935-9935                      Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.                     Richmond, VA 23233                                  1543 Wazee St, Suite 200                                                                State & Local
                                               Denver, CO 80202                                 Toll free: 1-800-843-2489
Chattem, Inc.                                  303-595-4000                           
PO Box 2219                                    Fax: 303-595-4014
Chattanooga, TN 37409                                                 Citigroup, Inc.
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional

423-821-4571                                                                                    U S Service Center – Citi Inquiries                                                                                 100 Citibank Dr . – PO Box 769004
                                                                                                San Antonio, TX 78245-9004

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                  77
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Citizen Watch Company                          Coldwell Banker Real Estate                      Conair Corporation
of America, Inc.                               Corporation                                      150 Milford Rd .
1000 West 190 St .                             One Campus Dr .                                  East Windsor, NJ 08520
Torrance, CA 90502-1040                        Parsippany, NJ 07054                             609-426-1300
Toll free: 1-800-321-1151                      Toll free: 1-877-373-3829                        Toll free: 1-800-366-5391
Toll free: 1-800-321-1023, Ext . 4234                           Fax: 609-426-9475
(Repairs/Technical Support)                                                           
Toll free: 1-800-321-1023, Ext . 4299          The Colgate-Palmolive
  (Parts)                                      Company                                          Congoleum Corp.
Fax: 310-532-8171                              300 Park Ave .                                   Consumer Affairs
E-mail: customerservice_us@                    New York, NY 10022                               3700 Quakerbridge Rd .
         citizenwatch .com                     212-310-2000                                     PO Box 3127                           Toll free: 1-800-468-6502                        Mercerville, NJ 08619-0127
                                               Fax: 212-310-3243                                Toll free: 1-800-274-3266
Clopay Building Products                                     
Co. (a subsidiary of Griffon
Company)                                       Colonial Penn Life Insurance                     ConocoPhillips
Consumer Affairs                               399 Market St ., 5th Floor                       600 North Dairy Ashford Rd .
8585 Duke Blvd .                               Philadelphia, PA 19181                           Houston, TX 77079
Mason, OH 45040-3101                           Toll free: 1-877-877-8052                        281-293-1000
Toll free: 1-800-225-6729                      Toll free: 1-800-332-45642 (NY)                                     Toll free: 1-800-523-9100 (Life
                                               Customer Service)                                Consumer Credit Counseling
The Clorox Co.                                                    Service/MMI
1221 Broadway                                                                                   15847 Crabbs Branch Way
Oakland, CA 94612-1888                         The Columbia House                               Rockville, MD 20855
Toll free: 1-800-292-2200                      Company                                          1-888-845-5669
 (Laundry Brands)                              PO Box 91602                                     Toll free: 1-800-747-4222
Toll free: 1-800-835-4523 (GLAD)               Indianapolis, IN 46291-0602            
Toll free: 1-800-227-1860                      Toll free: 1-800-562-4046 (Music)
 (Household Surface Cleaners)                  Toll free: 1-800-262-2001 (Video/DVD)            Continental Airlines, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-242-7482 (Water               Toll free: 1-800-901-5545                        Customer Care
Purification Systems)                            (TV Library Club)                              900 Grand Plaza Dr . – NH CCR
Toll free: 1-800-426-6228                      Toll free: 1-800-965-9665                        Houston, TX 77210-4607
 (Insecticides)                                (Audiobook)                                      713-324-5000                       Fax: 1-800-590-6656                              Toll free: 1-800-932-2732
                                                                 Fax: 832-235-1806
Coats & Clark Inc                                                                               E-mail: custo@coair .com
Consumer Service                               Combe Incorporated                     
PO Box 12229                                   1101 Westchester Ave .
Greenville, SC 29612-0229                      White Plains, NY 10604-3503                      Continental Tire North
864-877-8985                                   914-694-5454                                     America, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-648-1479                      Toll free: 1-800-431-2610                        Consumer Relations                            (Consumer Affairs)                             1800 Continental Blvd .
                                               Toll free: 1-800-873-7400                        Charlotte, NC 28273
The Coca-Cola Co.                                (Product Questions)                            704-583-3900
Industry and Consumer Affairs                  Fax: 914-696-6233                                Toll free: 1-800-847-3349
PO Box 1734                                                              Fax: 1-888-847-3329 (Toll Free)
Atlanta, GA 30301                                                                     
404-676-2121                                   ConAgra Foods
Toll free: 1-800-438-2653                      Consumer Affairs
TTY: 1-800-262-2653 (Toll free)                PO Box 3768
Fax: 404-676-4903                              Omaha, NE 68103-0768
E-mail: crreview@na .ko .com                   Toll free: 1-800-722-1344                     Fax: 402-595-7880

                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
78            Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                           corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Converse, Inc.                                 Coty Inc.                                        Culligan International Co.
Customer Service Group                         406 American Rd .                                Office of the President
One High St .                                  Morris Plains, NJ 07950                          9399 West Higgins Rd
North Andover, MA 01845-2601                   Toll free: 1-800-715-4023                        Rosemont, IL 60018
Toll free: 1-800-547-2667                      Toll free: 1-800-953-5080                        847-430-2800
Toll free: 1-888-792-3907                        (Sally Hansen, NYC New York                    Toll free: 1-800-947-4759
E-mail: estore@converse .com                    Color, LaCross)                                 Fax: 1-888-777-8715 (Toll Free)                               Toll free: 1-800-954-5080                        E-mail: consumeraffairs@
                                                (Borghese Nail Care)                                     culligan .com
Conwood Company, L.P.                          Fax: 973-290-8913                      
813 Ridge Lake Blvd .                
Memphis, TN 38120                                                                               Cumberland Packing
901-761-2050                                   Crayola LLC                                      Corporation

901-767-1302                                   1100 Church Lane                                 Sweet ‘N Low Division
Toll free: 1-800-238-5990                      Easton, PA 18044-0431                            Two Cumberland St .                                  610-253-6272                                     Brooklyn, NY 11205
                                               Toll free: 1-800-272-9652                        718-858-4200
Coors Brewing Co.                                                      Fax: 718-260-9017

Consumer Info Center/                                                                 
  Consumer Relations                           Creative Labs
311 10th St . – NH475                          1523 Cimarron Plaza                              Current, Inc.

                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
Golden, CO 80401                               Stillwater, OK 74075                             1005 East Woodmen Rd .
303-279-6565                                   405-742-6622 (Technical Support)                 Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Toll free: 1-800-642-6116                      Toll free: 1-800-998-1000                        719-594-4100
Fax: 303-277-5415                               (Customer Service)                              Toll free: 1-877-665-4458                                  Toll free: 1-800-998-5227                        Toll free: 1-800-848-2848
                                                (Online Store)                                  Toll free: 1-800-832-4845
Corel Corporation                                                   (Large Quantity Phone Orders)
46430 Fremont Blvd .                                                                            Fax: 1-800-993-3232 (Orders);

                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
Fremont, CA 94538                              Crowne Plaza                                       719-531-2122 (Large Quantity
613-728-8200                                   See: InterContinental Hotels Group                 Fax Orders)
Toll free: 1-800-772-6735                      Toll free: 1-800-227-6963              
  (Customer Support)                           (Reservations)                                  Toll free: 1-800-465-2680                        CVS/pharmacy
                                                 (Guest Services)                               Customer Relations Department
Costco Wholesale Corporation                                       One CVS Dr .

                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
PO Box 34331                                                                                    Woonsocket, RI 02895
Seattle, WA 98124                              Cuisinart                                        401-765-1500
999 Lake Dr .                                  Sales and Marketing Operations                   Toll free: 1-800-746-7287
Issaquah, WA 98027                             One Cummings Point Rd .                          Fax: 401-770-6949
425-313-8100                                   Stamford, CT 06902                     
Toll free: 1-800-774-2678                      203-975-4600
Toll free: 1-800-668-9668                      Toll free: 1-800-726-0190 (Outside NJ)                             D
                                                                                                                                       State & Local
  (Membership Programs)                        Toll free: 1-800-726-6247, ext . 4605
Toll free: 1-800-607-6861 (Pharmacy)           Fax: 203-975-4660                                Dairy Queen Corporation                                 E-mail: cuisinart@conair .com
                                                                                                Customer Relations
                                                                                                7505 Metro Blvd .
                                                                                                Minneapolis, MN 55439
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional


                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                 79
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

The Dannon Co., Inc.                          Del Monte Foods Company                          Diamond Foods, Inc.
Consumer Response Center                      Consumer Affairs                                 Consumer Affairs
PO Box 90296                                  PO Box 80                                        1050 South Diamond St .
Allentown, PA 18109-0296                      Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0080                        Stockton, CA 95205-7087
Toll free: 1-877-326-6668                     415-247-3000 (CA)                                209-467-6260                                Toll free: 1-800-543-3090                        Fax: 209-933-6858
PO Box 15015 (ZIP: 17405-7016)                Dell Inc.                                        Diet Center Worldwide, Inc.
York, PA 17402                                Customer Service                                 395 Springside Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-288-6749                     One Dell Way                                     Akron, OH 44333
E-mail: edanskin@danskin .com                 Round Rock, TX 78682                             330-665-5861                               Toll free: 1-800-624-9897                        Toll free: 1-800-656-3294
                                               (Customer Service)                              Fax: 330-666-2197
DAP Products, Inc.                            Toll free: 1-800-624-9896                        E-mail: info@dietcenter .com
2400 Boston St ., Suite 200                    (Tech Support)                        
Baltimore, MD 21224                 
410-675-2100                                                                                   Dillard’s, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-543-3840                     Delta Air Lines, Inc.                            Customer Service Dept .
Toll free: 1-888-327-8477                     Customer Care                                    1600 Cantrell Rd .
Fax: 410-534-2650                             PO Box 20980                                     Little Rock, AR 72201                                   Dept . 980                                       501-376-5200
                                              Atlanta, GA 30320-2980                           Toll free: 1-800-643-8278 (Credit Cards)
Days Inns Worldwide Inc.                      404-715-1450                                     Toll free: 1-877-272-2601 (Furniture)
PO Box 4090                                   Fax: 1-888-286-3163 (Toll Free)                  TTY: 1-800-444-1732 (Toll free)
1910 8th Ave . NE                             
Aberdeen, SD 57402
Toll free: 1-800-441-1618                     Delta Faucets Company                            Diners Club International                               55 East 111th St .                               Customer Relations
                                              PO Box 40980                                     8725 West Sahara Ave .
Deere & Company                               Indianapolis, IN 46280                           The Lakes, NV 88901
One John Deere Place                          317-848-1812                                     Toll free: 1-800-234-6377
Moline, IL 61265                              Toll free: 1-800-345-3358                        Fax: 702-797-5151 (5154)
309-765-8000                                  E-mail: customerservice@                                                         deltafaucet .com
                                                                  DIRECTV Enterprises, Inc.
Del Laboratories, Inc.                                                                         PO Box 6550
Consumer Relations                            Denny’s Corporation                              Greenwood Village, CO 80155-6550
PO Box 9357                                   203 East Main St . P-8-5                         Toll free: 1-800-494-4388
Uniondale, NY 11553                           Spartanburg, SC 29319                            TTY: 1-800-779-4388
516-844-2020                                  864-597-8000                           
Toll free: 1-800-952-5080                     Toll free: 1-800-733-6697
  (Pharmaceuticals)                            (Customer Service)                              Discover Financial
Toll free: 1-800-953-5080                     Fax: 864-597-8780                                Services, Inc.
  (Cosmetics)                                                          PO Box 30943
Fax: 516-349-0904                                                                              Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0943
E-mail: dell@dellabs .com                     The Dial Corporation                             224-405-0900                               15101 North Scottsdale Rd .                      Toll free: 1-800-347-2683
                                              Scottsdale, AZ 85254-1619                         (Customer Service)
                                              480-754-3425                                     Fax: 224-405-4993
                                              Toll free: 1-800-258-3425              
                                                (Personal Cleaning Products)
                                              Fax: 480-754-3789

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
80           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                         corporaTe consumer conTacTs

D-Link Systems,                                Dr Pepper/Snapple                                Duracell North America
Incorporated                                   Group Inc                                        Consumer Affairs Department
Customer Services                              Corporate Communications/                        Berkshire Corporate Park
17595 Mt . Hermann St .                        Consumer Relations                               Bethel, CT 06801
Fountain Valley, CA 92708                      PO Box 869077                                    Toll free: 1-800-551-2355
714-885-6000                                   Plano, TX 75024                                  TTY: 1-800-341-0654
Toll free: 1-800-326-1688                      972-673-7000                                     Fax: 1-800-796-4565 (Toll free)
Fax: 1-866-743-4684 (Toll free)                Toll free: 1-800-527-7096              
E-mail: customerservice@dlink .com             Toll free: 1-800-426-4891                                  www.drpeppersnapple                              DWS Investments
                                                                             Attn: General Correspondence
Dole Food Company, Inc.                                                                         PO Box 219151
Consumer Center                                Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream                         Kansas City, MO 64121-9151

One Dole Dr .                                  Consumer Relations                               Toll free: 1-800-728-3337
Westlake Village, CA 91362-7300                5929 College Ave .                                (8-5 CST M-F)
818-874-4000                                   Oakland, CA 94618                                Toll free: 1-800-343-2890
Toll free: 1-800-232-8888                      Toll free: 1-877-437-3937 (Dreyer’s)              (24 hr . Shareholder)
Fax: 818-874-4997                              Toll free: 1-888-590-3397 (Edy’s)                TTY: 1-800-972-3006 (8-5 CST

                                                                                                                                       BBB                                   Toll free: 1-800-767-0120                         M-F – Toll free)
                                                (Häagen-Dazs)                                   E-mail: service@dws .com
Dollar Rent A Car                              Toll free: 1-800-441-2525              

                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
Corporate Customer Center                       (Nestlé Ice Cream)
CIMS 7082, 5330 East 31st St .                 Toll free: 1-888-442-3722                                         E
PO Box 33167                                    (The Skinny Cow)
Tulsa, OK 74153-1167                           Fax: 610-871-2275                                Eagle Family Foods
918-669-3000                                                            Corporate Relations
Toll free: 1-800-800-5252
                                               DS Waters of America                             One Strawberry Lane
 (Customer Service)
                                                                                                Orrville, OH 44667
Toll free: 1-800-800-6080                      4170 Tanners Creek Dr .

                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
 (Frequent Flyer Center)                       Flowery Branch, GA 30542
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-877-645-6681
Fax: 918-669-8596                              Toll free: 1-800-492-8377
                                                                                                                       E-mail: customerservice@water .com
                                                                         EarthLink, Inc.
Domino’s Pizza, Inc.
                                               Dunkin Donuts                                    1375 Peachtree St . NE
Customer Service
                                                                                                Atlanta, GA 30309
30 Frank Lloyd Wright Dr .                     Customer Service

                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
PO Box 997                                     130 Royall St .
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-800-719-4664
Ann Arbor, MI 48106                            Canton, MA 02021
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-866-576-8465
734-930-3030                                   Toll free: 1-800-859-5339
                                                                                                E-mail: support@earthlink .net
Toll free: 1-888-366-4667            
 (Store Locator)                                Dunlop Tire Corp.
                                                                                                Eastman Kodak Co.
Doubletree                                                                                      Kodak Info Center/Consumer
                                               DuPont Co.                                        Contact Center                        State & Local
See: Hilton Hospitality Inc .
                                               Chestnut Run Plaza – 705/GS38                    343 State St .
Toll free: 1-800-222-8733
                                               Wilmington, DE 19880-0705                        Rochester, NY 14650
                                               302-774-1000                                     Toll free: 1-800-698-3324
                                               Toll free: 1-800-441-7515                        Toll free: 1-800-242-2424
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional

                                               E-mail: info@dupont .com               

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                  81
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

e-Bay, Inc.                                   Elizabeth Arden, Inc.                            The Estee Lauder
2145 Hamilton Ave .                           309 South St .                                   Companies, Inc.
San Jose, CA 95125                            New Providence, NJ 07974                         767 Fifth Ave .
408-376-7400                                  203-462-5809                                     New York, NY 10153
Toll free: 1-800-322-9266                     Toll free: 1-800-326-7337                        212-572-4200                                  E-mail: consumer@elizabeth                       Toll free: 1-888-378-3359
                                                       arden .com                    
Eddie Bauer, Inc.                   
Customer Service                                                                               Ethan Allen, Inc.
10401 NE 8th St ., Suite 500                  E-Machines                                       PO Box 1966
Bellevue, WA 98004                            Gateway, Inc .                                   Danbury, CT 06813-1966
Toll free: 1-800-625-7935                     7565 Irvine Center Dr .                          203-743-8668
TTY: 1-800-462-6757 (Toll free)               Irvine, CA 92618                                 Toll free: 1-888-324-3571                            408-273-0888                                     Fax: 203-743-8298
                                                                    E-mail: orders@ethanallen .com
Corporate                                     Embassy Suites
308 North Carroll Blvd .                      Toll free: 1-800-362-2779                        The Eureka Co.
Denton, TX 76201                               (Guest Assistance)                              Consumer Service Dept .
940-565-0004                                                    PO Box 3900
Toll free: 1-888-707-6819                                                                      Peoria, IL 61612
Fax: 940-565-0959                             Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.                    Toll free: 1-800-282-2886                          Customer Support                       
                                              331 La Salle Blvd .
Eizo Nanao Technologies                       Chicago, IL 60610                                Expedia, Inc.
5710 Warland Dr .                             Toll free: 1-800-323-1229                        Customer Support
Cypress, CA 90630                             Fax: 312-294-2104                                13810 SE Eastgate Way, Ste . 400
562-431-5011                                                       Bellevue, WA 98005
Toll free: 1-800-800-5202                                                                      Toll free: 1-800-397-3342
 (Order Tracking)                             Epson America, Inc.                              E-mail: travel@customercare .
Toll free: 1-888-900-8383                     3840 Kilroy Airport Way                                   expedia .com
 (Technical Support)                          Long Beach, CA 90806                   
Fax: 562-431-4811                             562-981-3840                                  562-276-1300 (Technical Support)                 Experian
                                              Toll free: 1-800-463-7766                        National Consumer
The Electrolux Group                           (Pre-Sales Support)                             Assistance Center
Consumer Assistance Center                    Toll free: 1-800-922-8911 (Automated             PO Box 2104
PO Box 212378                                  Service and Tech Support)                       Allen, TX 75013
Augusta, GA 30907                                                       Toll free: 1-888-397-3742
614-761-2633                                  Equifax
Toll free: 1-800-724-7519                     PO Box 740201                                    Exxon Mobil                            Atlanta, GA 30374                                Fuels Marketing Company
                                              Toll free: 1-800-685-1111                        PO Box 1049
Eli Lilly & Co.                               TTY: 1-866-478-0030 (Toll free)                  Buffalo, NY 14240-1049
Lilly Corporate Center                                                Toll free: 1-800-243-9966
Indianapolis, IN 46285                                                               
317-276-2000                                  Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery
Toll free: 1-800-545-5979                     600 Yosemite Blvd .                                 Modesto, CA 95354
                                              Toll free: 1-877-687-9463
                                              E-mail: consumerrelations@
                                                       ejgallo .com

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
82           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                  F                           Fisher-Price                                    Frito-Lay
                                              Consumer Affairs                                Consumer Affairs
Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Co.                  636 Girard Ave .                                7701 Legacy Dr .
Consumer Affairs Department                   East Aurora, NY 14052                           PO Box 660634 (Zip: 75266-0634)
1025 West 8th St .                            716-687-3000                                    Plano, TX 75024
Kansas City, MO 64101-1200                    Toll free: 1-800-432-5437                       972-334-7000
816-842-1230                                  TTY: 1-800-382-7470 (Toll free)                 Toll free: 1-800-352-4477
E-mail: info@faultless .com                   Fax: 716-687-3494                               Fax: 972-334-5071                                        
                                              Florsheim, Inc.                                 Fruit of the Loom, Inc.
Federated Department                          Customer Service                                Consumer Services
Stores, Inc.                                  333 West Estabrook Blvd .                       One Fruit of the Loom Dr .

Seven West 7th St .                           Glendale, WI 53212                              Bowling Green, KY 42103-9015
Cincinnati, OH 45202                          Toll free: 1-866-454-0449                       270-781-6400
513-579-7000                                  E-mail: us .consumers@                          Fax: 270-781-6400
Toll free: 1-800-264-0069                              florsheim .com                         E-mail: consumer .srv@fruit .com


FedEx Corp.                                   Flowers Foods, Inc.                             FTD Inc.
Customer Relations                            1919 Flowers Circle                             Customer Service

                                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
3875 Airways                                  Thomasville, GA 31757                           3113 Woodcreek Dr .
Module H3 Department 4634                     229-226-9110 (Corporate/Bakeries)               Downers Grove, IL 60515
Memphis, TN 38116                             229-227-2333 (VP Communications)                630-719-7800
Toll free: 1-800-463-3339                     770-723-0173 (Specialty Group)                  Toll free: 1-800-736-3383
TTY: 1-800-238-4461 (Toll free)                                 Toll free: 1-800-788-9000                                                                       
                                              Food Lion, Inc.
FedExOffice                                   Customer Relations                              Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.

                                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
PO Box 1935                                   PO Box 1330                                     Consumer Information
Provo, UT 84603-9926                          Salisbury, NC 28145-1330                        Service Center
Toll free: 1-800-254-6567                     704-633-8250                                    1100 King George Post
Fax: 801-342-9263                             Toll free: 1-800-210-9569                       Edison, NJ 08837
E-mail: customerrelations@                                          Toll free: 1-800-800-3854
         fedexkinkos .com                                                                     Fax: 732-857-3487                           Fortune Brands                        

                                                                                                                                      National Consumer
                                              Corporate Affairs Department
Fidelity & Guarantee Co. (Old                 520 Lake Cook Rd .                              Fuller Brush Co.
Mutual Financial Network)                     Deerfield, IL 60015                             Customer Service
Policy Holder Service Center                  847-484-4400                                    PO Box 1247
PO Box 81497                                  E-mail: mail@fortunebrands .com                 One Fuller Way
Lincoln, NE 68501                                              Great Bend, KS 67530-0729
Toll free: 1-888-513-8797                                                                     620-792-1711
                                              The Franklin Mint
                                                                                                                                      State & Local
Fax: 1-800-638-2255 (Toll free)                                                               Toll free: 1-800-522-0499                                  801 Springdale Dr .                             Fax: 620-792-1906
                                              Exton, PA 19341                       
Fingerhut Direct                              Toll free: 1-800-523-7622
Marketing, Inc.                               Toll free: 1-800-843-6468                                         G
6250 Ridgewood Rd .                 
                                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional

St . Cloud, MN 56396                                                                          Gateway, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-208-2500                     Frigidaire Home Products
                                              See: Electrolux Group                           Corporate Escalations
                                              1-800-374-4432                                  610 Gateway Dr .
                                                                  North Sioux City, SD 57049
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-846-2000
                                                                                              Fax: 605-232-2450


                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70              of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                  83
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

General Electric Company                      Giant Food, Inc.                                 Goodrich Corporation
3135 Easton Turnpike                          8301 Professional Place, Suite 115               Consumer Relations Department
Fairfield, CT 06828-0001                      Landover, MD 20785                               PO Box 19001
203-373-2211                                  301-341-4322                                     Greenville, SC 29602-9001
Toll free: 1-800-626-2000                     TTY: 301-200-8995                                Toll free: 1-877-788-8899
 (Answer Center)                              Fax: 301-618-4968                      
Fax: 203-373-3131                   
                                                                                               The Goodyear Tire                                    Gillette Co.                                     & Rubber Co.
General Mills, Inc.                           Consumer Affairs                                 1144 East Market St .
Consumer Services                             PO Box 61                                        Akron, OH 44316
PO Box 9452                                   Boston, MA 02199                                 330-769-2121
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9452                    617-421-7000                                     Toll free: 1-800-321-2136
Toll free: 1-800-249-0562                     Toll free: 1-800-445-5388                        Fax: 330-796-2222
Fax: 763-764-8330                             Fax: 617-463-3410                                      
                                                                                               Gordon’s Jewelers
General Motors Acceptance                     GlaxoSmithKline Consumer                         See: Zale Corporation
Corp. (GMAC)                                  Healthcare                                       Toll free: 1-888-467-3664
PO Box 217062                                 PO Box 1467                            
Auburn Hills, MI 48321-7062                   Pittsburgh, PA 15205
                                              412-200-4000                                     Greyhound Lines, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-200-4622
                                              888-825-5249                                     PO Box 660362
TTY: 1-800-833-4622
                                              Toll free: 1-800-245-1040                        Dallas, TX 75266-0362
Fax: 316-652-6349
                                              Fax: 412-928-5864                                214-849-8966
                                                                          Toll free: 1-800-231-2222
General Tire                                                                                    (Fares/Schedules)
                                              Glidden Paints                                   TTY: 1-800- 345-3109
See: Continental Tire Co .
704-583-4882                                  15885 Prague Rd .                      
Toll free: 1-800-847-3349                     Strongsville, OH 44136
                                              Toll free: 1-800-454-3336                        Guess? Inc.
                                                                      1444 South Alameda St .
The Generra Company                                                                            Los Angeles, CA 90021
                                              Global Village                                   213-765-3100
499 Seventh Ave ., 20th Floor, South
New York, NY 10018                            See: Zoom Technologies, Inc .                    Toll free: 1-877-444-8377
212-594-5801                                  (617) 423-1072                                   Fax: 213-744-0855
Fax: 212-594-5802                                                                    The Golden Grain Co.                             Guinness (Imported by
Georgia-Pacific Corp.                         Chicago, IL 60604-9003                           Diageo Guinness USA)
PO Box 105605                                 Toll free: 1-800-421-2444                        801 Main Ave .
Atlanta, GA 30348-5608                                              Norwalk, CT 06851
Toll free: 1-800-284-5347                                                                      203-229-2100
                                              Gold’s Gym International                         Toll free: 1-800-521-1591
 (Building Products)
                                              Customer Care Department                         Fax: 203-229-8901
Toll free: 1-800-283-5547
                                              125 East John Carpenter,                         E-mail: guinness@consumer-
 (Papers-Imaging and Printing)
                                              Suite 1300                                                care .net
                                              Irving, TX 75062                       
Gerber Products Co.                           214-574-4653
Consumer Affairs                              Toll free: 1-866-465-3775
445 State St .                                Fax: 214-296-5097 (Customer Care)
Fremont, MI 49413-0001              
Toll free: 1-800-443-7237
Fax: 231-928-2423

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
84           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                           corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                   H                           Hartz Mountain Corp.                              Hewlett-Packard Co.
                                               Consumer Relations                                3000 Hanover St .
H&R Block, Inc.                                400 Plaza Dr .                                    Bldg . 6A, Mail Stop 1247
One HR Block Way                               Secaucus, NJ 07094                                Palo Alto, CA 94304
Kansas City, MO 64105                          201-271-4800                                      650-857-1501
816-854-3000                                   Toll free: 1-800-275-1414                         Toll free: 1-800-752-0900
Toll free: 1-800-829-7733                                                  (General Inquiries & Tech Support)
Toll free: 1-800-472-5625                                                                        Fax: 650-857-5518
                                               Hasbro, Inc.                            
                                               PO Box 200
Hain Celestial Group, Inc.                     Pawtucket, RI 02862                               Highfalls Brewing Co., Inc.
Consumer Affairs                               401-431-8746                                      Customer Service Department
4600 Sleepytime Dr .                           Toll free: 1-800-255-5516                         445 St . Paul St .

Boulder, CA 80301                              Fax: 401-431-8082                                 Rochester, NY 14605
Toll free: 1-800-434-4246                                                585-263-9318                                                                           Toll free: 1-800-729-4366
                                               Hearth & Home                           
Hallmark Cards, Inc.                           Technologies Inc.

PO Box 419034                                  20802 Kensington Blvd .                           Hilton Hospitality Inc.
MD #216                                        Lakevillle, MN 55044                              755 Crossover Lane
Kansas City, MO 64141                          952-985-6000                                      Building A2

                                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
816-274-7656                                   Toll free: 1-888-427-3973                         Memphis, TN 38117
Toll free: 1-800-425-5627                      E-mail: info@hearthnhome .com                     Toll free: 1-800-445-8667                                           

Hampton Inn/Suites                             Heinz North America                               Holiday Inn/Holiday
See: Hilton Hospitality Inc .                  Consumer Resource Ctr ./                          Inn Express
Toll free: 1-800-426-7866                      Consumer Affairs                                  See: InterContinental Hotels Group
 (Guest Assistance)                            Heinz 57 Center                                   Toll free: 1-800-465-4329

                                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies                             357 6th Ave .                           
                                               Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2530
Hanes and Hanes Her                            Toll free: 1-800-255-5750                         Home Depot, Inc.
Way Underwear                                  Fax: 412-237-5291                                 2455 Paces Ferry Rd . SE
Retail Consumer Services                                                  Atlanta, GA 30339-1834
PO Box 3013                                                                                      770-433-8211
Winston Salem, NC 27102                        Hershey Food Corp.                                Toll free: 1-800-553-3199

                                                                                                                                        National Consumer
For all other matters write to:                100 Crystal A Dr .                                Fax: 1-877-496-9470 (Toll free)
Hanes .com                                     Hershey, PA 17033                       
PO Box 6088                                    Toll free: 1-800-468-1714
                                                                       Home Goods
Bethania, NC 27010
Toll free: 1-800-832-0594                                                                        See: TJX Companies
                                               Hertz Corp.                                       Toll Free: 1-800-888-0776
                                               Customer Relations                      
Hanes Hosiery                                  225 Brae Blvd .
                                               Park Ridge, NJ 07656                              Home Shopping Network                  State & Local
Consumer Relations
                                               201-307-2000                                      (HSN)
PO Box 450
1000 E Hanes Mill Rd .                         Toll free: 1-888-777-6095                         Customer Service
Winston-Salem, NC 27105                        TTY: 1-800-654-2280                               One HSN Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-342-7070                                                 St . Petersburg, FL 33729
                                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional

Fax: 336-519-2154                                                                                727-872-1000                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-284-3900
                                                                                                  (Phone Orders)
                                                                                                 Toll free: 1-800-933-2887
                                                                                                  (Online Orders)
                                                                                                 TTY: 1-800-753-5353

                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                  85
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Homewood Suites                               Huffy Corporation                                Intel
See: Hilton Hospitality Inc .                 6551 Centerville Business Pkwy .                 Consumer Relations
Toll free: 1-800 -225-5466                    Centerville, OH 45459                            1900 Prairie City Rd .                        937-865-2800                                     Folsom, CA 95630
                                              Toll free: 1-800-872-2453                        916-377-7000 (Customer Service)
Honeywell International Inc.                  Fax: 937-865-5470                                916-356-8080 (Headquarters)
101 Columbia Rd .                             E-mail: customer .service@             
Morristown, NJ 07962                                   huffybikes .com
973-455-2000                                                       InterContinental Hotels Group
Toll free: 1-800-328-5111 (Home/                                                               Three Ravinia Dr . – Suite 100
 Building Solutions)                          Humana Inc.                                      Atlanta, GA 30346-2149
Toll free: 1-800-601-3099 (Aerospace          500 West Main St .                               770-604-2000
 & General Co . Inquires)                     Louisville, KY 40202                   
Fax: 973-455-4807                             502-580-1000                             Toll free: 1-800-448-6262                        Iomega
                                                                       500 West 500 North Lindon
Hoover Company                                                                                 Roy, UT 84067
Consumer Response Center                      Hyatt Hotels & Resorts                           Toll free: 1-888-516-8467
240 Edwards St .                              71 South Wacker Dr .                              (Customer Service)
Cleveland, TN 37311                           Chicago, IL 60606                                E-mail: customersupport_super@
330-499-9499                                  312-750-1234                                              cs .iomega .com
Toll free: 1-800-944-9200                     Toll free: 1-800-228-3336                                              Fax: 402-593-5151
Hormel Foods Co.
Consumer Affairs                                                I                              Jack In The Box
One Hormel Place
                                                                                               9330 Balboa Ave .
Austin, MN 55912-9989                         IBM Corporation                                  San Diego, CA 92123-1516
                                              One New Orchard Rd .                             858-571-2121
Toll free: 1-800-523-4635
                                              Armonk, NY 10504-1722                            Toll free: 1-800-955-5225
Fax: 507-437-9852
                                              Toll free: 1-800-426-4968                         (Guest Relations)
E-mail: media@hormel .com
                                               (Customer Service)                    
                                              Toll free: 1-800-426-6006
                                                (Admin . Support – orders,                     Jackson & Perkins
Houston’s Restaurant
                                               invoices, payments)                             Nursery Stock
Hillstone Restaurant Group
                                              TTY: 1-800-26-3383                               Two Floral Ave .
147 South Beverly Dr .
                                              Fax: 1-866-722-9226                              Hodges, SC 29653-0001
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
                                               (Admin . Support)                               Toll free: 1-800-872-7673
Toll free: 1-800-230-9787
                                                                          Fax: 1-800-242-0329 (Toll free)
Fax: 310-385-7119
                                                                                                                  ICI Paints in North America
                                              15885 West Sprague Rd .                          Jameson Inns, Inc.
Howard Johnson, Inc.
                                              Strongsville, OH 44136                           Guest Services Dept .
PO Box 4090
                                              440-297-8000                                     4770 S . Atlanta Rd .
1910 8th Ave NE
                                              Toll free: 1-800-984-5444                        Smyrna, GA 30080
Aberdeen, SD 57402-4090
                                              Fax: 216-344-8900                                770-901-9020
Toll free: 1-800-544-9881
                                                                          E-mail: comments@jameson
                                                                                                        inns .com
                                              In-N-Out Burger                        
                                              4199 Campus Drive, 9th Floor
                                              Irvine, CA 92612
                                              Toll free: 1-800-786-1000

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
86           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                      corporaTe consumer conTacTs

JanSport, Inc.                                JetBlue Airways Corporation                   Jordache Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 1817                                   PO Box 17435                                  1400 Broadway, 15th Floor
Appleton, WI 54912-1817                       Salt Lake City, UT 84117-7435                 New York, NY 10018
920-734-5708                                  Toll free: 1-800-538-2583                     212-944-1330
Toll free: 1-800-558-3600                     TTY: 1-800-336-5530                           E-mail: contact@jordache
E-mail: consumer_relations@                   Fax: 801-365-2440; 801-365-2440                vintage .com
         vfc .com                                        
                                              Jiffy Lube International, Inc.                Jostens, Inc.
Jarden Consumer                               Jiffy Lube Customer Service                   Customer Care
Solutions, Inc.                               Customer Service – PO Box 4458                3601 Minnesota Dr .
Consumer Affairs                              Houston, TX 77210-4458                        Minneapolis, MN 55435
2381 Executive Center Dr .                    713-546-4100                                  Toll free: 1-800-854-7464

Boca Raton, FL 34331                          Toll free: 1-800-344-6933                      (Consumer Line)
516-912-4100                                                     Toll free: 1-800-413-3857
Toll free: 1-800-458-8407                                                         
Toll free: 1-800-882-5842                     Jockey International, Inc.
Fax: 1-800-478-6737 (Toll Free)               2300 60th St .                                Juno Online Services

                                                                                                                                       BBB                              PO Box 1417                                   See: United Online Inc .
                                              Kenosha, WI 53141-1417                        Toll free: 1-866-491-5866
JCPenney Co., Inc.                            262-658-8111                                   (Tech Support)

                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
Corporate Customer Relations                  Toll free: 1-800-562-5391                     Toll free: 1-888-839-5866
PO Box 10001                                                         (Billing Questions)
Dallas, TX 75301-7303                                                             
972-431-1000                                  John Hancock Financial
Toll free: 1-800-322-1189                     Services, Inc.                                Just Born, Inc.
 (Online Orders)                              Boston, MA 02117                              Customer Relations
Toll free: 1-800-709-5777                     617-572-6000                                  1300 Stefko Blvd .
 (Phone Orders)                               Toll free: 1-800-732-5543                     Bethlehem, PA 18017

                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies                              TTY: 1-800-832-5282                           610-867-7568
                                              Fax: 617-572-8707                             Toll free: 1-888-645-3453
Jenn-Air                                                        (Consumer Relations)
See: Whirlpool Corporation                                                                  Toll free: 1-800-652-3267
Customer eXperience Center                    Johns-Manville Corporation                     (Customer Service)
553 Benson Rd .                               PO Box 5108                                   Toll free: 1-800-445-5787 (Corporate)
Benton Harbor, MI 49022-2692                  Denver, CO 80217-5108                         Fax: 1-800-543-4981 (Toll Free)

                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
Toll free: 1-800-688-1100                     303-978-2000                        
Toll free: 1-800-536-6847                     Toll free: 1-800-654-3103
 (Customer Service)                                                     Just My Size Clothing Co.                                                                             PO Box 748
                                              Johnson & Johnson                             Rural Hall, NC 27098-0748
Jenny Craig, Inc.                             Consumer Products, Inc.                       Toll free: 1-800-261-6098
Customer Care                                 199 Grandview Rd .                            Toll free: 1-800-274-1896 (Spanish)
                                              Skillman, NJ 08558
                                                                                                                                       State & Local
5770 Fleet St .                                                                             TTY: 1-800-816-4833 (Toll free)
Carlsbad, CA 92008                            908-874-1000                                  Fax: 1-800-848-1237
760-696-4000                                  Toll free: 1-800-526-3967           
Toll free: 1-800-597-5366           
E-mail: WebOtherQues@                                                                       Just My Size Panties
         jennycraig .com                      Johnson Publishing Co., Inc.                  PO Box 3013 (Zip 27102)
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional                            820 S . Michigan Ave .                        475 Corporate Square Dr .
                                              Chicago, IL 60605                             Winston-Salem, NC 27105
                                              312-322-9200                                  Toll free: 1-888-567-3487
                                                         Toll free: 1-800-994-4348
                                                                                            Fax: 336-519-4226

                                                             Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70            of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                     87
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

JVC Company of America                        KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)                    Kohler Co.
1700 Valley Rd .                              PO Box 725489                                   444 Highland Dr .
Wayne, NJ 07494                               Atlanta, GA 31139                               Mail Stop 10
973-317-5000                                  Toll free: 1-800-225-5532                       Kohler, WI 53044
Toll free: 1-800-252-5722                                                920-457-4441
Fax: 973-315-5042                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-456-4537
E-mail: customerrelation@                     Kimberly-Clark Corporation                       (Customer Care – Plumbing Only)
         jvcamerica .com                      Consumer Services                                                 401 North Lake
                                              Neenah, WI 54956                                Kohl’s Corporation
                  K                           920-721-8000                                    Customer Service
                                              Toll free: 1-800-553-3639                       North 56 W 17000 Ridgewood Dr .
Kawasaki Motor Corp., USA                     Fax: 920-721-4766                               Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Consumer Services
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-694-2647
PO Box 25252                                  Kinetico                                        Fax: 262-703-6363
Santa Ana, CA 92799-5252                      10845 Kinsman Rd .                              E-mail: customerservice@kohls .com
949-460-5688                                  PO Box 193                            
Toll free: 1-800-661-7433                     Newbury, OH 44065                              440-564-9111                                    Kona Grill, Inc.
KB Toys Inc.                                  Toll free: 1-800-944-9283                       7150 East Camelback Rd, #220
                                              Fax: 440-564-9541                               Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Customer Service
                                              E-mail: custserv@kinetico .com                  480-922-8100
100 West St .
                                                                    Toll free: 1-866-328-5662
Pittsfield, MA 01201
                                                                                              Fax: 480-991-6811
413-496-3000                                  The Kirby Company                               E-mail: information@konagrill .com
303-228-9000                                  Customer Relations                    
Toll free: 1-877-452-5437                     1920 West 114th St .
Fax: 413-496-3616                             Cleveland, OH 44102                             Kraft Foods, Inc.                                216-228-2400                                    Consumer Response Center
Kellogg Company                               Toll free: 1-800-494-8586                       One Kraft Court
                                              Fax: 216-529-6146                               Glenview, IL 60025
Consumer Affairs
                                              E-mail: consumer@kirbywhq .com                  Toll free: 1-800-323-0768
                                                                       Fax: 570-301-5275
Battle Creek, MI 49016
269-961-2000                                  KitchenAid
Toll free: 1-800-962-1413                     Customer Satisfaction Center                    Kroger Co.                        553 Benson Rd .                                 1014 Vine St .
Kelly Tires                                   Benton Harbor, MI 49022                         Cincinnati, OH 45202
                                              269-923-5000                                    Toll free: 1-800-632-6900
See: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co .
                                              Toll free: 1-800-422-1230                        (Product information)
Toll free: 1-800-321-2136
                                               (Large Appliances)                             Toll free: 1-866-221-4141
                                              Toll free: 1-800-541-6390                        (Customer Comments)
Kemper Insurance Companies                     (Small Appliances)                   
Customer Relations                  
                                                                                              Kyocera Optics
One Kemper Dr .                               Kmart Corp.                                     Panurgy
Long Grove, IL 60049
                                              Customer Service                                701 Ford Rd .
                                              3333 Beverly Rd .                               Rockaway, NJ 07866
Toll free: 1-800-833-0355
                                              Hoffman Estates, IL 60179                       973-625-4056
                                              847-286-2500                                    Toll free: 1-800-421-5735
                                              Toll free: 1-866-562-7848                       Fax: 973-625-9489
                                              E-mail: help@customerservice .                  E-mail: info@panurgyoem .com
                                                       kmart .com                   

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
88           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                                              L’eggs Products                                  LG Electronics Inc.
                                              Consumer Relations                               Customer Service
                                              1000 E . Hanes Mill Rd .                         PO Box 240007
LA Gear
                                              Winston-Salem, NC 27105                          201 James Record Rd .
844 Moraga Dr .                               Toll free: 1-800-925-3447                        Huntsville, AL 35824
Los Angeles, CA 90049                         Fax: 336-519-2154                                256-772-8860
310-889-3400                                                            Toll free: 1-800-243-0000
Toll free: 1-800-252-4327                                                                      Fax: 1-800-448-4026 (Toll Free)
Fax: 310-889-3500                             LEGO Systems Inc.                                                      Consumer Affairs
                                              555 Taylor Rd .                                  Liberty Mutual Insurance
Land O’Lakes, Inc.                                                                             Group
                                              PO Box 1138
Consumer Affairs                              Enfield, CT 06083-1138                           Consumer Affairs

PO Box 64101                                  Toll free: 1-800-422-5346                        175 Berkeley St .
Mail Station 1070                             Toll free: 1-800-838-9647                        MS 10B
St . Paul, MN 55164-0101                      Toll free: 1-800-835-4386                        Boston, MA 02116
Toll free: 1-800-328-4155                      (Shop at Home)                                  617-357-9500, ext . 41015
Fax: 651-481-2128                             Fax: 1-888-329-5346                              Toll free: 1-800-344-0197, ext . 41015

                                                                                                                                             BBB                                                       Fax: 617-574-6688
Lands’ End, Inc.                                                                               E-mail: PresidentialSvcTeam@
                                              Lennox Industries, Inc.                                   LibertyMutual .com

                                                                                                                                             Corporate Contacts
Customer Service                              Consumer Affairs                       
One Lands’ End Lane                           PO Box 799900
Dodgeville, WI 53595                          Dallas, TX 75379-9900                            Lillian Vernon Corporation
Toll free: 1-800-963-4816                     972-497-5000                                     Customer Service
TTY: 1-800-541-3459 (Toll free)               Toll free: 1-800-953-6669, ext . 3144            2600 International Pwky .
Fax: 1-800-332-0103 (Toll free)               Fax: 972-497-5331                                Virginia Beach, VA 23452                                                   757-430-1500
                                                                                               Toll free: 1-800-901-9291

                                                                                                                                             Federal Agencies
Lane Furniture                                Levi Strauss & Company                           TTY: 1-800-285-5536 (Toll free)
PO Box 1627                                   1155 Battery St .                      
Hwy . 145 South                               San Francisco, CA 94111
Tupelo, MS 38802                              415-501-6000                                     Limited Brands, Inc.
662-566-7211                                  Toll free: 1-800-872-5384                        Customer Service                                                    Three Limited Pkwy .
La-z-Boy, Inc.                                                                                 Columbus, OH 43230

                                                                                                                                             National Consumer
                                              Levolor/Kirsch Window                            Toll free: 1-800-945-5088
1284 North Telegraph Rd .                     Fashion                                
Monroe, MI 48162-3309                         4110 Premier Dr .
734-242-1444                                  High Point, NC 27265                             Lincoln Electric Co.
E-mail: cservice@la-z-boy .com                336-812-8181                                     Machine and Consumables                              336-881-5873                                     22801 St . Claire Ave .
Leap Wireless International                   Toll free: 1-800-538-6567                        Cleveland, OH 44117-1199
                                                                                                                                             State & Local
                                              Fax: 336-881-5873                                216-481-8100
10307 Pacific Center Court
                                              E-mail: info@levolor .com                        Toll free: 1-800-833-9353
San Diego, CA 92121
                                                                      Fax: 216-486-1751
Toll free: 1-877-977-5327                     Lexmark International, Inc.
Fax: 858-882-6010                             740 West New Circle Rd .
                                                                                                                                             Trade & Professional                          Lexington, KY 40550
Lee Jeans                                     Toll free: 1-800-539-6275
                                              Toll free: 1-800-332-4120
9001 West 67th St .
                                               (Technical Support and Pre-Sale)
Merriam, KS 66202
                                              E-mail: custrep@lexmark .com
Toll free: 1-800-453-3348
                                               (General Inquiries)
E-mail: leemail@vfc .com

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                        89
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

L.L. Bean, Inc.                               L’Oreal USA                                       Macy’s
15 Casco St .                                 575 Fifth Ave .                                   151 West 34th St .
Freeport, ME 04033-0001                       New York, NY 10017                                New York, NY 10001
207-865-4761                                  212-818-1500                                      212-695-4400 (East)
Outdoor Discovery Schools                     Toll free: 1-800-322-2036                         206-344-2121 (Northwest)
  Toll Free: 1-888-552-3261                     (L’Oreal Cosmetics)                             305-835-5000 (FL)
Toll free: 1-800-441-5713                     Toll free: 1-800-631-7358 (Hair)                  612-375-2200 (North)
  (USA and Canada – 24/7)                     Toll free: 1-800-944-0730                         314-342-6300 (Midwest)
Toll free: 0-800-891-297 (UK – 24/7)            (Maybelline)                                    770-913-4000 (South)
Toll free: All other countries,                                      Toll free: 1-800-526-1202
  24/7: (International Access Code)                                   (Customer Service)
  + 207-552-3028                                                                                Toll free: 1-866-593-2543
Toll free: 1-800-832-1889                     Los Angeles Times                                   (Credit Inquiries)
  (Corporate sales)                           202 West First St .                               Toll free: 1-800-241-0488 (South)
TTY: 1-800-545-0090 (USA);                    Los Angeles, CA 90012                             Toll free: 1-800-877-2655 (West)
  Outside USA, (International                 213-237-5000                                        or 412-397-3333 (West)
  Access Code) + 207-955-3777                 Toll free: 1-800-528-4637               
Fax: 207-552-3080 (USA);                      Toll free: 1-800-252-9141
  From outside USA, (International            Fax: 213-237-7679                                 Magic Chef
  Access Code) + 207-955-3777                                          Magic Chef Customer Service                                                                                  553 Benson Rd .
                                              Lowe’s                                            Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Long John Silver’s                            Customer Care                                     Toll free: 1-800-688-1120
Restaurants, Inc.                             Lowe’s Customer Care                    
1900 Colonel Sanders Lane                     PO Box 1111
Louisville, KY 40213                          North Wilkesboro, NC 28659                        Magnavox
Toll free: 1-888-806-3474                     Toll free: 1-800-445-6937                         See: Philips Consumer Electronics                             Toll free: 1-800-890-5932                         North America
                                               (Order Inquiries)                                Toll free: 1-800-605-8610
The Longaberger Company                       Toll free: 1-800-444-1408                         Toll free: 1-800-705-2000
Customer Satisfaction                          (Customer Account Inquiries)           
One Market Square                   
1500 East Main St .                                                                             Marriott International, Inc.
Newark, OH 43055-8447                                           M                               Corporate Offices
740-322-7800                                                                                    One Marriott Dr .
TTY: 740-322-5897                             MAACO Enterprises, Inc.                           Washington, DC 20058
Fax: 740-322-7807                                                                               1818 N 90th St .
                                              381 Brooks Rd .
E-mail: info@longaberger .com                                                                   Omaha, NE 68114
                                              King of Prussia, PA 19406                                                                             301-380-3000 (Corporate)
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-800-535-4028
Longhorn Steakhouse                           Toll free: 1-800-523-1180
                                                                                                 (Guest Relations)
Darden Restaurants                                                                              E-mail: customer .care@
PO Box 593330                                 Macromedia, Inc.                                           marriott .com
5900 Lake Ellenor Dr . (32809)                See: Adobe Systems Incorporated         
Orlando, FL 32859-3330                        Toll free: 1-800-833-6687
407-245-4000                                                                                    Marshalls Inc.
                                               (Customer Service)                                                                      See: TJX Companies, Inc .
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-888-627-7425

                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
90           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70          of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Massachusetts Mutual                          McCormick & Co., Inc.                           Medco Health Solutions Inc.
Insurance Co. (Mass Mutual)                   Consumer Affairs                                Public Affairs
1295 State St .                               211 Schilling Circle                            100 Parsons Pond Dr .
Springfield, MA 01111-0001                    Hunt Valley, MD 21031                           Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417
413-744-6592                                  Toll free: 1-800-632-5847                       201-269-3400
Toll free: 1-800-487-7844                     Fax: 410-527-6005                               Toll free: 1-800-631-7780
Fax: 1-888-599-0010 (Toll free)                          
                                              McCormick and Schmick’s                         Meineke Car Care
MasterCard Worldwide                          Seafood Restaurants                             Centers, Inc.
(Contact your issuing bank first)             720 SW Washington St ., Suite 550               Customer Relations Department
Toll free: 1-800-622-7747                     Portland, OR 97205                              PO Box 32401 (ZIP: 28202)
TTY: 1-800-300-3069                           503-226-3440                                    128 South Tryon St ., Suite 900

                                                                                                                                     Automotive                            Fax: 503-228-5074                               Charlotte, NC 28232-2401
                                              www.mccormickandschmicks.                       704-377-3070
Masterfoods USA                               com                                             Toll free: 1-800-447-3070
800 High St .                                                                       
Hackettstown, NJ 07840                        McDonald’s Corp.

908-852-1000                                  2111 McDonald’s Dr .                            Melitta USA, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-222-0293                     Oak Brook, IL 60523                             13925 58th St . North
E-mail: askus@masterfoodsusa .com             Toll free: 1-800-244-6227                       Clearwater, FL 33760

                                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts                                                727-535-2111
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-888-635-4882
Mattel, Inc.                                  McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.           
Worldwide Consumer Affairs                    Customer Service
333 Continental Blvd .                        PO Box 182604                                   Mellon Financial Corp.
El Segundo, CA 90245-5012                     Columbus, OH 43272                              One Mellon Center
310-252-2000                                  212-512-2000                                    Pittsburgh, PA 15258
Toll free: 1-800-524-8697                     Toll free: 1-877-833-5524                       412-234-5000

                                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
Fax: 310-252-4190                             Fax: 614-759-3749                                             E-mail: customer .service@
                                                       mcgraw-hill .com                       The Mentholatum Co., Inc.
Maybelline, Inc.                                                 Consumer Affairs
PO Box 1010                                                                                   707 Sterling Dr .
Clark, NJ 07066-1010                          MCI                                             Orchard Park, NY 14127
Toll free: 1-800-944-0730                     See: Verizon Communications                     716-677-2500

                                                                                                                                     National Consumer                            Customer Service                                Toll free: 1-800-688-7660
                                              PO Box 3400                                     Fax: 716-674-3696
Mayflower Transit, LLC.                       Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-3400           
One Premier Dr .                              Toll free: 1-888-624-5622
Fenton, MO 63026                               (Consumers)                                    Mercury Marine
636-305-4000                                  Toll free: 1-800-436-4444                       W6250 West Pioneer Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-428-1234                      (Small Business)                               PO Box 1939                                                                             Fond Du Lac, WI 54936-1939
                                                                                                                                     State & Local
                                              Fax: 1-877-602-6388 (Toll free)
Maytag                                                                                        Fax: 920-929-5893
Maytag Customer Service                       McKee Foods Corp.                     
553 Benson Rd .                               PO Box 750
Benton Harbor, MI 49022                       Collegedale, TN 37315                           Merillat Industries
                                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional

Toll free: 1-800-688-9900                     Toll free: 1-800-522-4499                       5353 West U .S . 223
Toll free: 1-866-616-2601                                         Adrian, MI 49221
 (Customer Service)                                                                           517-263-0771                                                                                Toll free: 1-866-850-8557

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70              of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                 91
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Merisant Worldwide, Inc.                      Microsoft Corporation                           Mitsubishi Digital Electronics
Chicago, IL 60602                             One Microsoft Way                               America, Inc.
312-840-6000                                  Redmond, WA 98052-6399                          9351 Jeronimo Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-323-5316 (Equal)             425-882-8080                                    Irvine, CA 92618                              Toll free: 1-800-642-7676                       949-830-8364
                                              Fax: 425-936-7329                               Toll free: 1-800-332-2119
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.                                            (Consumer Relations)
(contact local branch manager first)                                                          Fax: 949-465-6147
250 Vesey St .                                Midas Inc.                            
New York, NY 10080                            1300 Arlington Heights Rd .
212-449-1000                                  Itasca, IL 60143                                The Mony Group (AxA
Toll free: 1-800-637-7455                     Toll free: 1-800-621-0144                       Financial, Inc.)
TTY: 1-800-262-3340                                                    See: AXA Equitable Co ., Inc .                                                                          Toll free: 1-800-487-6669
                                              Midas Mutual Funds                    
Mervyn’s                                      (a subsidiary of
22301 Foothill Blvd, MS 2115                  Winmill & Co. Inc.)                             Morgan Stanley
Hayward, CA 94541                             PO Box 6110                                     1585 Broadway
Toll free: 1-800-637-8967                     Indianapolis, IN 46209-6110                     New York, NY 10036
E-mail: guest .relations@                     212-363-1100                                    212-761-4000
         mervyns .com                         Toll free: 1-800-400-6432                       Toll free: 1-800-733-2307                               Fax: 212-363-1101                     
                                              E-mail: info@mutualfunds .net
MetLife, Inc.                                                    Morton International, Inc.
500 Schoolhouse Rd .                                                                          Consumer Affairs
Johnstown, PA 15904                           Miles Kimball Co.                               123 N . Wacker Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-638-5433                     Customer Service                                Chicago, IL 60606-1743                               250 City Center                                 312-807-2693
                                              Oshkosh, WI 54906                               Toll free: 1-800-725-8847
Michelin North America, Inc.                  920-231-3800                                    Fax: 312-807-2769
PO Box 19001                                  Toll free: 1-800-255-4590             
Greenville, SC 29602-9001                     Toll free: 1-800-546-2255
Toll free: 1-800-847-3435                     TTY: 920-231-5506                               Motorola, Inc.
Toll free: 1-866-866-6605                     Fax: 920-231-6942                               Corporate Communications                                             1303 East Algonquin Rd .
                                                                                              Schaumburg, IL 60196
Michelina’s                                   Miller Coors                                    847-576-5000
PO Box 16630                                  3939 West Highland Blvd .                       Toll free: 1-800-331-6456
Duluth, MN 55816                              Milwaukee, WI 53208                             TTY: 847-538-7116
218-723-5555                                  414-931-2000                                                      Fax: 414-931-3735
                                                                 Motts, Inc.
Michigan Bulb Co.                                                                             Consumer Services Department
Customer Service                              Milton Bradley                                  5301 Legacy Dr .
PO Box 4180                                   See: Hasbro, Inc .                              PO Box 869077
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025-4180                   Toll free: 1-888-836-7025                       Plano, TX 75024
513-354-1497                                            Toll free: 1-800-426-4891
E-mail: service@michiganbulb .com             Minwax                          Ten Mountain View Rd .
                                              Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
                                              Toll free: 1-800-523-9299
                                              E-mail: askminwax@sherwin .com

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
92           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                       corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Movado Group, Inc.                            National Fuel Gas Company                      The Neiman-Marcus
650 From Rd ., Suite 375                      6363 Main St .                                 Group, Inc.
Paramus, NJ 07652-3556                        Williamsville, NY 14221-5887                   111 Customer Way
201-267-8000                                  Toll free: 1-800-453-3513 (NY)                 Irving, TX 75039
Toll free: 1-800-810-2311                     Toll free: 1-800-352-1900 (PA)                 214-761-2660
 (Movado + ESQ)                               Fax: 716-857-7061                              Toll free: 1-800-685-6695
Toll free: 1-800-920-3153 (Ebel)                            Toll free: 1-888-888-4757
Toll free: 1-800-547-4073 (Concord)                                                          Fax: 214-761-2650
Toll free: 1-800-796-7103 (Coach              National Presto                      
Watch + Hugo Boss)                            Industries, Inc.                        3925 North Hastings Way                        Nestlé Purina PetCare
                                              Eau Claire, WI 54703-3703                      Company
MSN Internet Services                         715-839-2121                                   Checkerboard Square

MSN Consumer Advocate                         Fax: 715-839-2122                              St . Louis, MO 63164
One Microsoft Way                                                  314-982-1000
Redmond, WA 98052                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-778-7462
Toll free: 1-800-386-5550                     Nationwide Financial Network                   Fax: 314-982-4580                                   300 Continental Dr .                 

                                              Newark, DE 19713
Mutual of Omaha                               Toll free: 1-800-523-4681                      Nestlé USA
Insurance Co.                                 Fax: 302-452-7634                              Consumer Services Center

                                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
Mutual of Omaha Plaza                                   800 North Brand Blvd .
Omaha, NE 68175                                                                              Glendale, CA 91203
402-342-7600                                  NaturaLawn of America                          Toll free: 1-800-225-2270
Toll free: 1-800-775-6000                     One East Church St .                 
Toll free: 1-800-948-9478                     Fredrick, MD 21701
Fax: 402-351-3768                             301-694-5440                                   Nestlé Waters North
E-mail: individualclaims@                     Fax: 301-846-0320                              America Inc.
         mutualofomaha .com                   E-mail: natural@nl-amer .com                   777 West Putnam Ave .

                                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies                                               Greenwich, CT 06830-5091
                                              Nautica Enterprises, Inc.            
                                              Consumer Relations
                                              40 West 57th St .                              Netzero
Nabisco Foods Group
                                              New York, NY 10019                             See: United Online, Inc .
Consumer Affairs                              212-541-5757                                   Toll free: 1-877-912-5866
100 DeForest Ave .

                                                                                                                                   National Consumer
                                              Toll free: 1-877-628-8422                       (Tech Support)
East Hanover, NJ 07936-1911                   Fax: 212-887-8136                              Toll free: 1-866-841-1442
Toll free: 1-800-622-4726                                            (Billing Questions)                                                               
                                              NBC Universal, Inc.
National Amusements, Inc.                                                                    Neutrogena Corp.
                                              Viewer Relations
200 Elm St .                                  30 Rockefeller Plaza                           Consumer Affairs
PO Box 9126                                   New York, NY 10112                             5760 West 96th St .
Dedham, MA 02027-9126                         212-664-2333                                   Los Angeles, California 90045         State & Local
781-461-1600                                                            310-642-1150
E-mail: customer_service@                                                                    Toll free: 1-800-582-4048
        national-amusements .com              Near East Food Products                        Fax: 310-337-5564                   See: Quaker Oats                               E-mail: ntgweb@neuus .jnj .com
                                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional

                                              Toll free: 1-800-822-7423            
National Car Rental
System, Inc.
Customer Services
208 St . James Ave .
Goose Creek, SC 29445
Toll free: 1-800-468-3334

                                                              Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70             of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                93
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

New England Financial                         Niagara Mohawk (A National                      Norelco Consumer
New England Financial                         Grid Company)                                   Products Co.
700 Quacker Lane                              Administration and                              See: Philips Consumer Electronics
Warwick, RI 02886                             Consumer Advocacy                               North America
Toll free: 1-800-388-4000                     300 Erie Blvd . West                            Customer Service                                  Syracuse, NY 13202                              1251 Avenue of the Americas
                                              Toll free: 1-800-642-4272                       New York, NY 10020
New York Life Insurance                                      Toll free: 1-800-243-3050
Company                                       niagaramohawk/                        
One Rockwood Rd .
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591                       Nike, Inc.                                      The North Face, Inc.
914-846-3876                                  PO Box 4027                                     Customer Service
Fax: 914-846-5497                             One Bowerman Dr .                               2013 Farallon Dr .                           Beaverton, OR 97076-4027                        San Leandro, CA 94577
                                              503-671-6453                                    510-618-3500
New York Magazine                             Toll free: 1-800-344-6453                       Toll free: 1-800-447-2333
Holdings LLC                                                            Toll free: 1-866-715-3223
75 Varick St ., 4th Floor                                                                     Fax: 510-618-3541
New York, NY 10013                            Nikon Inc.                                      E-mail: tnf_consumerservices@vfc .com
212-508-0700                                  1300 Walt Whitman Rd .                
Toll free: 1-800-678-0900                     Melville, NY 11747-3064                            631-547-4200                                    Northwest Airlines
                                              Toll free: 1-800-645-6687                       Customer Relations
New York Times Co.                             (Film & Sport Optics                           C6590
620 Eighth Ave .                               Technical Support)                             5101 Northwest Dr .
New York, NY 10018                            Toll free: 1-800-645-6689                       St . Paul, MN 55121
212-556-1234                                   (Digital Imaging Technical Support)            Toll free: 1-800-692-6955                                 Toll free: 1-800-645-6678                       TTY: 1-800-225-2525
                                               (Service & Repair)                               (Reservations – Toll free)
Newport News                                  Fax: 631-547-4025                     
5100 City Line Rd .                 
Hampton, VA 23630-5100                                                                        Northwestern Mutual Life
757-827-7010                                  Nine West Group Inc.                            Insurance Co.
Toll free: 1-800-759-3950                     Customer Relations                              Corporate Relations
  (Customer Service)                          Nine West Plaza                                 720 East Wisconsin Ave .
Fax: 757-825-4103                             1129 Westchester Ave .                          Milwaukee, WI 53202
E-mail: customercare@                         White Plains, NY 10604                          414-271-1444
         newport-news .com                    914-640-6400                                                    Toll free: 1-800-999-1877
                                                                    Norwegian Cruise Line
Newsweek, Inc.                                                                                7665 Corporate Center Dr .
PO Box 5711                                   Nokia USA                                       Miami, FL 33126
Harlan, IA 51593                              Customer Contact Center                         305-436-4000
Toll free: 1-800-631-1040                     4630 Woodland Corporate Blvd .,                 Toll free: 1-866-625-1164
Fax: 1-888-385-1428 (Toll free)               Suite 100                                                     Tampa, FL 33614
                                              Toll free: 1-888-665-4228                       Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Nextel Communications, Inc.                   TTY: 1-800-246-6542 (Toll free)                 Corporation
Toll free: 1-800-639-6111                     Fax: 813-243-1256                               One Health Plaza                         E-mail: customercare@nokia .com                 East Hanover, NJ 07936-1080
Nexxus Products Co.                                                                           Toll free: 1-800-742-2422
2525 Armitage Ave .                                                                           Toll free: 1-888-669-6682
Melrose Park, IL 60160                                                                        Fax: 973-781-8265
Toll free: 1-800-444-6399                                                           

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
94           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Novell, Inc.                                  OfficeMax, Inc.                                  On the Border
404 Wyman St .                                Customer Service                                 Toll free: 1-800-983-4637
Waltham, MA 02451                             263 Shuman Blvd .                      
801-861-7000                                  Naperville, IL 60563
Toll free: 1-800-529-3400                     630-438-7800                                     Orbitz, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-858-4000                     Toll free: 1-877-633-4236                        Customer Service
 (Tech Support)                               Fax: 1-800-995-9644 (Toll free)                  500 West Madison
Fax: 801-861-5203 (Tech Support)              E-mail: customerresolution@                      Chicago, IL 60661
E-mail: customer_service@                              officemax .com                          312-894-5000
         novell .com                                                Toll free: 1-888-656-4546                                                                                 Fax: 312-894-5001
Nu Tone, Inc.                                 2000 Bishops Gate Blvd .

9825 Kenwood Rd ., Suite 301                  Mt . Laurel, NJ 08054-4620                       Orkin
Cincinnati, OH 45227                          856-235-2600                                     2170 Piedmont Rd .
Toll free: 1-888-336-3948 (Nu Tone)           Toll free: 1-800-654-3282                        Atlanta, GA 30324
E-mail: ask@nutone .com                        (Customer Support)                              404-329-7400                                                        Toll free: 1-800-346-7546

                                                                                               Toll free: 1-888-675-4626
The NutraSweet Company                        Olan Mills, Inc.                                 Fax: 404-633-2315
1762 Lovers Lane                              4325 Amnicola Hwy .                    

                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
Augusta, GA 30901                             PO Box 23456
Toll free: 1-800-323-5321                     Chattanooga, TN 37422-3456                       Oster                            Toll free: 1-800-251-6320                        See: Jarden Consumer Solutions, Inc .
                                              Fax: 423-499-3864                                931-668-4121
NutriSystem, Inc.                                                   Toll free: 1-800-339-2547
300 Welsh Rd .                                                                       
Horsham, PA 19044                             Olive Garden
215-706-5300                                  Darden Restaurants                               Oster Professional Products

                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
Toll free: 1-800-585-5483                     PO Box 593330                                    150 Cadillac Lane
Fax: 215-706-5388                             Orlando, FL 32859-3330                           McMinnville, TN 37110                           407-245-4000                                     931-668-7171
                                                                  Toll free: 1-800-830-3678 (Corporate)
                  O                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-339-2547
                                              Olympus America                                   (Customer Support)
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.                  PO Box 610                                       Fax: 913-668-1647

                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
                                              Center Valley, PA 18034-0610           
Consumer Affairs Department
                                              Toll free: 1-800-622-6372
One Ocean Spray Dr .                                                                           Outback Steakhouse
                                                (Film Cameras)
Lakeville-Middleboro, MA 02349                                                                 2202 NW Shore Blvd ., 5th Floor
                                              Toll free: 1-888-553-4448
Toll free: 1-800-662-3263                                                                      Tampa, FL 33607
                                                (Digital Cameras)
Fax: 508-923-0036                                                                              813-282-1225
                                              Toll free: 1-800-622-6372                                                                   
                                                                                                                                       State & Local
Office Depot, Inc.                  
                                                                                               Owens Corning
2200 Old Germantown Rd .                      Oneida, Ltd.                                     One Owens Corning Pkwy .
Delray Beach, FL 33445                                                                         Toledo, OH 43659-0001
                                              Customer Service
561-438-4800                                                                                   419-248-8000
                                              PO Box 1
Toll free: 1-800-463-3768                                                                      Toll free: 1-800-438-7465
                                              Oneida, NY 13421-2899
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional

Fax: 561-438-4760                                                                    
E-mail: customer .relations@
                                              Toll free: 1-888-263-7195
         officedepot .com

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                  95
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                  P                           Pella Corporation                                P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc.
                                              Customer Service Department                      7676 East Pinnacle Peak Rd .
Palm, Inc.                                    102 Main St .                                    Scottsdale, AZ 85265
Customer Service                              Pella, IA 50219                                  480-888-3000
950 West Maude Ave .                          641-628-1000                           
Sunnyvale, CA 94085                           Toll free: 1-800-374-4758
408-617-7000                                   (Service and Repair)                            Pfizer Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-881-7256                                               Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-888-956-7256                                                                      235 East 42nd St .
                                              Pennzoil                                         New York, NY 10017
 (Computer Software)
Fax: 408-617-0100                             Corporate Communications                         Toll free: 1-800-879-3477                                  Pennzoil Place                         
                                              PO Box 2967
Panasonic Company                             Houston, TX 77252-2967                           Pharmavite Corporation
Consumer Affairs                              713-546-4000                                     PO Box 9606
Panazip 2F-3                                  Toll free: 1-800-237-8045                        Mission Hills, CA 91346-9606
One Panasonic Way                                                    818-221-6200
Secaucus, NJ 07094                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-276-2878
                                              Pentair Pool Products, Inc.                       (Nature Made)
Toll free: 1-800-211-7262                     Customer Support                                 Toll free: 1-800-314-4372                             1620 Hawkins Ave .                                (Nature’s Resource)
                                              Sanford, NC 27330                                Toll free: 1-800-710-6529
Panera Bread                                  919-774-4151                                      (Olay Vitamins)
6710 Clayton Rd .                             Toll free: 1-800-831-7133              
Richmond Heights, MO 63117                    Fax: 1-800-284-4151 (Toll free)
314-633-7100                                                      Philip Morris USA
Toll free: 800-301-5566                                                                        Consumer Affairs
                                              Pep Boys Auto                                    Consumer Response Center
Fax: 314-633-7200                           311 West Allegheny Ave .                         PO Box 26603
                                              Philadelphia, PA 19132                           Richmond, VA 23261
Papa John’s International, Inc.               Toll free: 1-800-737-2697                        804-274-2000
PO Box 99900                                  Fax: 205-430-4622                                Toll free: 1-800-343-0975
Louiseville, KY 40269                         E-mail: custserv@pepboys .com          
502-261-4987                                                                                                      Philips Consumer Electronics
                                              Pepperidge Farm, Inc.                            North America
Paper Direct, Inc.                            Consumer Affairs                                 Customer Service
See: Current, Inc .                           595 Westport Ave .                               64 Perimeter Center East
Toll free: 1-800-272-7377                     Norwalk, CT 06851                                PO Box 467300                           Toll free: 1-888-737-7374                        Atlanta, GA 31146-7300
Parker Brothers                                                                                Toll free: 1-888-744-5477
Toll free: 1-888-836-7025                     Pepsi-Cola Co.                                    (Consumer Support)                                700 Anderson Hill Rd .                 
                                              Purchase, NY 10577
Pathmark Stores, Inc.                         Toll free: 1-800-433-2652                        Phillips-Van Heusen
Customer Relations                            Fax: 914-767-6177                                Corporation
Two Paragon Dr .                                                      Customer Services
Montvale, NJ 07645                                                                             1001 Frontier Rd ., Suite 100
Toll free: 1-866-443-7374                     Perdue Farms Incorporated                        Bridgewater, NJ 08807
E-mail: customers@pathmark .com               PO Box 1656                                      908-685-0050                              Horsham, PA 19044-6656                           Toll free: 1-800-388-9122
                                              Toll free: 1-800-473-7383              

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
96           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                        corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Pioneer Electronics                           Plextor America                                 Public Clothing Company
Service, Inc.                                 830 Hillview Court, Suite 210                   1407 Broadway, 38th Floor
Customer Service                              Milpitas, CA 95035                              New York, NY 10018
PO Box 1760                                   408-719-3000                                    212-768-8440
Long Beach, CA 90810                          Toll free: 1-800-204-0332             
Toll free: 1-800-421-1404                      (Tech Support)
Fax: 310-952-2821                             Fax: 408-719-3030                               Publishers Clearing House                                           382 Channel Dr .
Pirelli Tire Corporation                                                                      Port Washington, NY 11050
                                              Polaroid Corp.
100 Pirelli Dr .                              Customer Care Center                            Toll free: 1-800-337-4724
Rome, GA 30161                                300 Baker Ave .                                 Fax: 516-883-5769
706-368-5800                                  Concord, MA 01742-2131

                                                                                              E-mail: cirving@pch .com
Toll free: 1-800-747-3554                     781-386-2000 (Collect calls           
Fax: 706-368-5832                              accepted within MA)
E-mail: consumer .affairs@us .                Toll free: 1-800-343-5000
         pirelli .com                          (Outside MA)
                                                                                                                Q                            Fax: 781-386-5605

                                                                    Qdoba Mexican Grill
Pizza Hut                                                                                     4865 Ward Rd ., Suite 500
14841 Dallas Pkwy .                           Polo/Ralph Lauren Corp.                         Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

                                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
Dallas, TX 75254                              Consumer Relations                              303-629-5000
Toll free: 1-800-948-8488                     4100 Beachwood Dr .                             Fax: 303-629-2396                              Greensboro, NC 27410                            E-mail: info@qdoba .com
                                              Toll free: 1-888-475-7674             
Playskool                                     Fax: 336-632-9097
See: Hasbro, Inc .                            E-mail: customerassitance@                      The Quaker Oats Co.
Toll free: 1-800-752-9755                              ralphlauren .com                       Consumer Response/QTG
Toll free: 1-800-242-7276                                               PO Box 049003

                                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
E-mail: customersupport@                                                                      Chicago, IL 60604-9003
         hasbro .com                          Price Chopper Supermarkets                      312-821-1000                     (The Golub Corporation)               
                                              Consumer Marketing Services
Playtex Products Inc.                         501 Duanesburg Rd . (Zip: 12301)                Quantum Corp.
75 Commerce Dr .                              PO Box 1074                                     1650 Technology Dr ., Suite 700
PO Box 701                                    Schenectady, NY 12306                           San Jose, CA 95110-1382

                                                                                                                                     National Consumer
Allendale, NJ 07401-1500                      518-355-5000                                    408-944-4000
Toll free: 1-888-310-4290                                       Toll free: 1-800-677-6268
Toll free: 1-800-451-7847                     The Procter & Gamble Co.
 (Rug Cleaners – Woolite)                     Consumer Relations                              Quark, Inc.
Toll free: 1-888-456-8371                     PO Box 599                                      Quark Distribution, Inc .
 (Playtex Gloves)                             Cincinnati, OH 45202                            PO Box 12027
Toll free: 1-888-532-2229                                                                     Cheyenne, WY 82003
                                                                                                                                     State & Local
 (Baby Magic)                                 Toll free: (Toll free numbers                   307-772-7100
Toll free: 1-899-723-3786                       appear on all labels)                         Toll free: 1-800-676-4575
 (Banana Boat Sun Care)                                                   Fax: 307-772-7122
Toll free: 1-888-724-7500                                                                     E-mail: cservice@quark .com
 (Ogilvie Hair Care)                          Prudential Financial, Inc.            
                                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional

TTY: 1-800-843-6430                           Policyowner Relations Dept .
  (Diaper Genie – Toll free)                  PO Box 1136                                     QuikTrip Corporation
Fax: 201-785-8202                             Minneapolis, MN 55440-1136                      PO Box 3475                    Toll free: 1-800-201-6690                       Tulsa, OK 74101
                                              Toll free: 1-800-486-3770                       918-615-7700
                                              TTY: 1-800-526-8061 (Toll free)       

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70              of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                 97
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Quizno’s                                      Readers Digest                                   Rich Products
                                              Association, Inc.                                Corporate Quality Assurance
1475 Lawrence St ., Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202                              Customer Service                                 PO Box 20670
720-359-3300                                  Readers Digest Rd .                              127 Airport Rd .
Toll free: 1-866-486-2783                     Pleasantville, NY 10570-7000                     St . Simons Island, GA 31522                               914-238-1000                                     912-638-5000
                                              Toll free: 1-800-635-5006                        Toll free: 1-888-732-7251
QVC Inc.                                      Toll free: 1-800-846-2100                        Fax: 912-634-3105
1200 Wilson Drive at Studio Park              TTY: 1-800-735-4327 (Toll free)        
West Chester, PA 19380                        Fax: 914-238-4559
                                                                Ricoh Corporation
Toll free: 1-800-367-9444                                                                      Five Dedrick Place
                                              Reckitt Benckiser, Inc.                          West Caldwell, NJ 07006
TTY: 1-800-544-3316 (Toll free)                                   Consumer Relations                               973-882-2000
                                              Morris Corporate Center IV                       Toll free: 1-800-327-8349
Qwest Communications                          399 Interpace Pkwy ., PO Box 225                 E-mail: tech@ricohdms .com
International, Inc.                           Parsippany, NJ 07054-0225              
4600 South Syracuse St .                      973-404-2600
                                              1-877-870-8174 (Lysol Purifiers)                 Rite Aid Corporation
9th Floor
Denver, CO 80237                              1-888-265-3343 (MSDS)                            Customer Service
303-256-6270                                  Toll free: 1-800-333-3899                        PO Box 3165
Toll free: 1-800-244-1111                     Toll free: 1-800-228-4722                        Harrisburg, PA 17105
  (Residential Sales/Billing)                   (Household)                                    717-761-2633
Toll free: 1-800-573-1311                     Toll free: 1-800-841-1256                        Toll free: 1-800-748-3243
  (Residential Repair)                          (Food Products)                      
Toll free: 1-800-899-7780                     Toll free: 1-800-260-1066
                                                (Spray N Wash)                                 Rodale, Inc.
  (Corporate Headquarters)
                                              E-mail: corpcomms@                               Customer Satisfaction Call Center
Fax: 303-256-6271
                                                       reckittbenckiser .com                   33 East Minor St .
                                                             Emmaus, PA 18098-0099
                 R                            Regal Ware Inc.                                  Toll free: 1-800-848-4735 (Books)
                                              Consumer Service                                 Fax: 610-967-8963
Radio Shack Corporation                       1675 Reigle Dr .                                 E-mail: customer_service@
Customer Care                                 Kewaskum, WI 53040                                        rodale .com
300 Radio Shack Circle                        262-626-2121                           
Fort Worth, TX 76102                
817-415-3011                                                                                   Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-843-7422                     Remington Arms Company, Inc.                     665 Fifth Ave ., 5th Floor                            PO Box 700                                       New York, NY 10022
                                              Madison, NC 27025-0700                           212-758-7700
Rayovac Corporation                           Toll free: 1-800-243-9700                        Fax: 212-980-2166
PO Box 44960                                  Fax: 336-548-7801                      
Madison, WI 53744                   
Toll free: 1-800-237-7000                                                                      Abbott Nutrition Products
Fax: 1-888-677-4770                           Remington Products Co.                           Division
E-mail: consumers@rayovac .com                Spectrum Brands                                  Consumer Relations                               PO Box 44960                                     625 Cleveland Ave .
                                              Madison, WI 53744                                Columbus, OH 43215-1754
                                              Toll free: 1-800-736-4648                        614-624-7677
                                                           Toll free: 1-800-227-5767
                                                                                               Fax: 614-624-7616

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
98           Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                           corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Roto-Rooter Corp.                              Samsonite Corporation                            The Scotts Company
300 Ashworth Rd .                              575 West St .                                    Consumer Service
West Des Moines, IA 50265                      Mansfiled, MA 02048                              14111 Scottslawn Rd .
515-223-1343                                   Toll free: 1-800-262-8282                        Marysville, OH 43041
Toll free: 1-800-438-7686                      Fax: 610-871-3343                                Toll free: 1-800-543-8873                                                  Toll free: 1-888-270-3714
Royal Caribbean International                  Samsung Electronics America
Customer Support                               400 Valley Rd, Suite 201                         Seabourn Cruise Line
1050 Caribbean Way                             Mount Arlington, NJ 07856                        Guest Relations
Miami, FL 33132-2096                           Toll free: 1-800-726-7864                         (Seabourne Cruise Line)
Toll free: 1-800-398-9819                      Fax: 973-601-6001                                6100 Blue Lagoon Dr ., Suite 400                                                 Miami, FL 33126

Rubbermaid                                     Sanofi-Aventis                                   Toll free: 1-800-929-9595
3320 W . Market St                             55 Corporate Dr .                      
Fairlawn, OH 44333                             Bridgewater, NJ 08807-2854
Toll free: 1-888-895-2110                      Toll free: 1-800-981-2491                        Seagate Technology, Inc.

Toll free: 1-866-271-9249                                        Customer Support                                                                              920 Disc Dr .
                                               Sara Lee Foods                                   Scotts Valley, CA 95066

                                                                                                                                              Corporate Contacts
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse                        Consumer Affairs                                 831-438-6550
Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc .                PO Box 756                                       Toll free: 1-800-732-4283
500 International Pkwy ., #100                 Neenah, WI 54957-0756                             (Pre-sales & Tech Support)
Heathrow, FL 32746-5500                        Toll free: 1-800-328-2426                        TTY: 405-324-3655
407-333-7440                                   Fax: 1-888-514-5970 (Toll free)                           
                                                                                                Sealy Corporation
                                               Sargento Foods Inc.                              One Office Pkwy . at Sealy Drive

                                                                                                                                              Federal Agencies
                                               Consumer Affairs                                 Trinity, NC 27370
Safeway, Inc.                                  One Persnickety Place                            336-861-3500
                                               Plymouth, WI 53073                               Toll free: 1-800-697-3259
MS 10501
                                               920-893-8484                                      (9-4:30 EST M-F)
PO Box 29093
                                               Toll free: 1-800-243-3737              
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9093
                                               Fax: 920-893-8399
925-467-3000                                                                                    Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Toll free: 1-877-723-3929

                                                                                                                                              National Consumer
                                                                                                3333 Beverly Rd .
Fax: 623-869-4397                              SC Johnson and Son, Inc.                         Hoffman Estates, IL 60179                                1525 Howe St .                                   847-286-2500
Saks Fifth Avenue                              Racine, WI 53403-5011                            Toll free: 1-800-549-4505
                                               262-260-2000                                     TTY: 1-800-659-7017
12 East 49th St ., 4th Floor
                                               Toll free: 1-800-494-4855                         (7 A .M . - 9 P .M . CST – Toll free)
New York, NY 10017
                                               Fax: 262-260-4805                                Fax: 1-800-427-3049 (Toll free)
                                                                                                                                              State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-238-3089
Toll free: 1-877-551-7257                      Schering-Plough HealthCare
Fax: 212-940-5031                              Products, Inc.                                   3030 Jackson Ave .
                                               Memphis, TN 38151-0001
                                                                                                                                              Trade & Professional

Sam’s Club
Member Service
                                               Toll free: 1-800-842-4090
608 SW Eighth St .
                                               Fax: 901-320-2292
Bentonville, AR 72712
Toll free: 1-888-746-7726
 (Customer Service)

                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                        99
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Seiko Instruments USA, Inc.                   Sharp Electronics Corp.                          Simple Tech, Inc.
12301 Technology Blvd .                       Customer Service                                 1830 East Warner Ave .
Austin, TX 78727                              1300 Naperville Dr .                             Santa Ana, CA 92705
512-349-3800                                  Romeoville, IL 60441                             949-477-7700
Toll free: 1-800-757-1011                     Toll free: 1-800-237-4277                        Toll free: 1-800-945-3444
  (Bus . & Home Office)                                               (Customer Support)
Toll free: 1-866-587-6573 (Consumer)                                                           Fax: 949-476-1209
Toll free: 1-800-553-6570                     Shell Oil Co.                          
  (Micro Printers)                            ATTN: TellShell US
Fax: 512-349-3000                             PO Box 2463                                      Singer Sewing Company
E-mail: customerservice@                      Houston, TX 77252                                Consumer Affairs
         siu-austin .com                      713-241-6161                                     1224 Heil Quaker Blvd .,                      Toll free: 1-888-467-4355                        PO Box 7017
                                                                   LaVergne, TN 37086
Sempra Energy                                                         Toll free: 1-800-474-6437
Customer Service                                                                               Fax: 615-213-0994
101 Ash St .                                  Sherwin-Williams Company                         E-mail: talktous@singerco .com
San Diego, CA 92101-3017                      Midland Bldg .                         
619-696-2000                                  101 Prospect Ave ., NW
Toll free: 1-800-411-7343 (SDG&E)             PO Box 647                                       Slim-Fast Foods Co.
Toll free: 1-800-427-2200 (SoCalGas)          Cleveland, OH 44115                              Consumer Services Dept .                                216-566-2000                                     PO Box 6065
                                              216-566-2902                                     Englewood, NJ 07631-6065
Seneca Foods Corporation                      Toll free: 1-800-474-3794                        Toll free: 1-877-375-4632
3736 South Main St .                           (Sherwin Williams)                              Toll free: 1-800-754-6327
Marian, NY 14505                              Toll free: 1-800-647-9365                        E-mail: support@slimfast .com
Toll free: 1-800-872-1110
Fax: 315-926-8300                             Shoney’s Inc.                                    Snapper, A Division of
E-mail: consumer_affairs@                     Guest Relations                                  Simplicity Mfg. Inc.
         senecafoods .com                     1717 Elm Hill Pike, Suite B-1                    535 Macon Rd .                           Nashville, TN 37210                              McDonough, GA 30253
                                              615-391-5395                                     770-954-2500
Serta, Inc.                                   Toll free: 1-877-474-6639                        770-957-9141
Customer Service                              Fax: 615-231-2621                                Toll free: 1-888-477-8650
Three Golf Center #392                                                Fax: 770-957-7981
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169                                                            
847-645-0200                                  Simmons Bedding Company
Toll free: 1-800-426-0371                     Consumer Services                                Snapple Beverage
Toll free: 1-888-557-3782                     1900 Beaver Ridge Circle                         Corporation
Fax: 847-645-0205                             Norcross, GA 30071                               Consumer Response Center
E-mail: customer .service@                    770-512-7700                                     5301 Legacy Dr .
         serta .com                           Toll free: 1-877-399-9397                        PO Box 869077                                 Fax: 770-613-8575                                Plano , TX 75024
                                              E-mail: customerassistance@                      Toll free: 1-800-426-4891
7-Eleven, Inc                                          simmons .com                  
Customer Relations                  
1722 Routh St .                                                                                Sonesta International
Dallas, TX 75201                              Simon and Schuster                               Hotels Corp.
972-828-7011                                  1230 Avenue of the Americas                      116 Huntington Ave .
Toll free: 1-800-255-0711                     New York, NY 10020                               Boston, MA 02116                              212-698-7000                                     617-421-5400
                                              Toll free: 1-800-223-2336                        Toll free: 1-800-766-3782
                                              Fax: 1-800-943-9831 (Toll free)                  Fax: 617-421-5402
                                                                    E-mail: info@sonesta .com

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
100          Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs                                                      Stop & Shop Supermarket
                                                                                              Co., Inc.
Sony Corp. of America                         Sprint Nextel                                   PO Box 55888
Customer Service                              KSOPHT0101-24300                                Boston, MA 02205-5888
Consumer Information Service                  6391 Sprint Pkwy .                              Toll free: 1-800-767-7772
Center                                        Overland Park, KS 66151-4300                    Fax: 617-770-6033
12451 Gateway Blvd .                          Toll free: 1-888-211-4727             
Fort Myers, FL 33913                          Toll free: 1-888-211-4727
Toll free: 1-800-222-7669                      (Sprint phones)                                Subway                                  Toll free: 1-800-639-6111                       325 Bic Dr .
                                               (Nextel phones)                                Milford, CT 06461-3059
Southwest Airlines                                       203-877-4281
Constomer Relations Department                                                                Toll free: 1-800-888-4848

PO Box 36647-1CR                              Stanley Hardware (Division            
Dallas, TX 75235-1647                         of the Stanley Works)
214-792-4223                                  Customer Service                                Swatch Watch USA
Toll free: 1-800-435-9792                     480 Myrtle St .                                 Customer Service
Toll free: 1-800-221-0016 (Spanish)           New Britain, CT 06053                           55 Metro Way, Suite #1

TTY: 1-866-281-8464 (Toll free)               860-225-5111                                    Secaucus, NJ 07094-1905
Fax: 214-792-5099                             Toll free: 1-800-622-4393                       201-271-1400                                            Toll free: 1-866-379-2824

                                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-879-2824
Spencer’s                                     Staples, Inc.                                   E-mail: swatch .cservice .estore@
Customer Service Dept .                       Consumer Affairs                                         swatch .com
6826 Black Horse Pike                         500 Staples Dr .                      
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234                 Framingham, MA 01702
609-645-3300                                  508-253-5000                                    The Swiss Colony, Inc.
Toll free: 1-800-527-7977                     Toll free: 1-800-378-2753                       Customer Service                        Toll free: 1-800-338-0252                       1112 Seventh Ave .

                                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
                                                (Store Relations)                             Monroe, WI 53566
Spiegel Brands, Inc                                                  608-324-4603
Corporate                                                                                     Toll free: 1-800-544-9036
One Spiegel Ave .                             Starbucks                                       Fax: 608-242-1001
Hampton, VA 23630-5367                        PO Box 3717                                     E-mail: swisscolony@
1-800-474-5555                                Seattle, WA 98124-3717                                   sccompanies .com
Toll free: 1-800-222-5680                     Toll free: 1-800-334-5553             

                                                                                                                                        National Consumer
E-mail: clientservices@spiegel .com            (Customer Relations)                               Toll free: 1-800-782-7282                       Symantec Corporation
                                               (Starbucks Card Services)                      Customer Service
Spiegel Catalog                                                    20330 Stephens Creek Blvd .
See: Spiegel Brands, Inc .                                                                    Cupertino, CA 95014
Customer Services                             State Fair Foods, Inc.                          408-517-8000
5100 City Line Rd .                           See: Sara Lee Foods                             Fax: 408-517-8186
Hampton, VA 23630                             Toll free: 1-800-294-3247
                                                                                                                                        State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-474-5555           
Toll free: 1-800-222-5680                                                                     Syngenta                               State Farm Mutual Automobile                    410 Swing Rd .
                                              Insurance Co.                                   Greensboro, NC 27409
Springs Global U.S., Inc.                     Executive Customer Service                      336-632-6000
                                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional

Public Relations Dept of Corporate            One State Farm Plaza                            Toll free: 1-800-334-9481
Communication                                 Bloomington, IL 61710                           Fax: 336-632-7353
PO Box 70                                     309-766-6393                          
Fort Mill, SC 29716                 
Toll free: 1-888-926-7888
Toll free: 1-800-221-6352

 (Window Products)

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70              of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                   101
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                                              Teleflora                                       3M
                                              11444 West Olympic Boulevard,                   Customer Relations
                                              4th Floor                                       3M Center
Taco Bell
                                              Los Angeles, CA 90064                           St . Paul, MN 55144-1000
Customer Relations                            Toll free: 1-800-421-4051                       651-737-6501
17901 Von Karman                              Toll free: 1-800-835-3356                       Toll free: 1-800-364-3577
Irvine, CA 92614                              Fax: 310-966-3666                               Fax: 1-800-713-6329 (Toll Free)
949-863-4500                                                        or 651-737-7117
Toll free: 1-800-822-6235                                                                                         Tenneco, Inc.
                                              500 North Field Dr .                            Thrifty Rent A Car
Talbots                                                                                       System, Inc.
                                              Lake Forest, IL 60045
Public Relations Depatment                    847-482-5000                                    Tulsa, OK 74135
One Talbots Dr .                              Fax: 847-482-5940                               Toll free: 1-800-334-1705
Hingham, MA 02043                                                    TTY: 1-888-332-3677 (Toll free)
781-749-7600                                                                                  Fax: 918-669-2060
Toll free: 1-800-992-9010                     Tetley USA Inc.                                 E-mail: customercare@thrifty .com
Toll free: 1-800-825-2687                     Consumer Affairs Department           
Toll free: 1-800-533-3201                     PO Box 856
TTY: 1-800-624-9179(Toll free)                100 Commerce Dr .                               Time Warner Inc.
Fax: 781-741-4136                             Shelton, CT 06484-0856                          One Time Warner Center                               203-929-9200                                    New York, NY 10019
                                              Toll free: 1-800-728-0084                       212-484-8000
Target Stores
                                              Fax: 203-929-9263                     
Guest Relations and                 
Quality Assurance                                                                             Time, Inc.
PO Box 9350                                   Texas Instruments, Inc.                         3000 University Center Dr .
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9350                    Consumer Relations                              Tampa, FL 33612
612-307-9800                                  PO Box 660199                                   813-979-6105
Toll free: 1-800-440-0680                     Dallas, TX 75266                                Toll free: 1-800-541-1000
TTY: 1-800-755-5852 (Toll free)               972-917-8324 (Technical support)                Fax: 813-979-6615
Fax: 612-307-8870                             972-995-2011                                                          Toll free: 1-800-842-2737
                                              Fax: 972-917-0747                               Timex Corp.
TEAC America, Inc.                                                                            Customer Service
7733 Telegraph Rd .                                                                           1302 Pike Ave .
Montebello, CA 90640                          T.G.I. Friday’s                                 North Little Rock, AR 72114
323-726-0303                                  Carlson Restaurants Worldwide                   501-372-1111
Fax: 323-727-7656                             4201 Marsh Lane                                 Toll free: 1-800-448-4639                                  Carrollton, TX 75007                            Fax: 501-370-5747
                                              972-662-5400                                    E-mail: custserv@timex .com
Techville Computer Center
                                              Toll free: 1-800-374-3297             
11343 North Central Expressway      
Dallas, TX 75243                                                                              TJ Maxx
214-739-7033                                  3COM Corporation                                See: TJX Companies, Inc .
214-739-1915 (Tech Support)                   350 Campus Dr .                                 770 Cochituate Rd .
Fax: 214-739-7042                             Marlborough, MA 01752-3064                      Framingham, MA 61701 or                          508-323-5000                                    508-390-3000                                  Toll free: 1-800-876-3266                       Toll free: 1-800-926-6299
                                               (Customer Service)                   
                                              Fax: 508-323-1111

                                                               Provided financial support for the publication
102          Member of SOCAP International, see page 70        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

TJx Companies, Inc.                           Toshiba America                         L.P.
770 Cochituate Rd .                           82 Totowa Rd .                                   11603 Crosswinds Way, Suite 125
Framingham, MA 01701                          Wayne, NJ 07470                                  San Antonio, TX 78233
508-390-1000                                  973-628-8000                                     Toll free: 1-888-Travelocity
Toll free: 1-877-746-7259                     Toll free: 1-800-631-3811                          (888-872-8356)
  (A . J . Wright)                            E-mail: customersupport@tacp .com                Toll free: 1-888-709-5983
Toll free: 1-800-926-6299 (TJ Maxx)                    
Toll free: 1-800-888-0776
  (Home Goods)                                Totes/Isotoner                                   Tripp Lite
Toll free: 1-888-627-7425 (Marshalls)         9655 International Blvd .                        1111 West 35th St .
Fax: 508-390-2091                             Cincinnati, OH 45246-5658                        Chicago, IL 60609                                   513-682-8200                                     773-869-1111
                                              Toll free: 1-800-762-8712                        773-869-1234 (Tech . Support)

T-Mobile Wireless                             Fax: 513-682-8606                                Fax: 773-869-1329
Customer Relations                            E-mail: consumeraffairs@totes .com     
PO Box 37380                        
Albuquerque, NM 87176-7380                                                                     True Value Company
Toll free: 1-800-937-8997                     Tourneau, Inc.                                   8600 West Bryn Mawr

 (Current Customers Only)                     Three East 54th St ., 3rd Floor                  Chicago, IL 60631-3505
Toll free: 1-800-866-2453                     New York, NY 10022                               773-695-5000
Fax: 505-998-3775                             212-758-3265                           

                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts                               Toll free: 1-800-348-3332
                                                                     TruGreen Lawn Care
Togo’s Eateries                                                                                Service Master Company
See: Dunkin Donuts                            Toys                                             860 Ridge Lake Blvd ., MS A4-4081
Toll free: 1-866-708-6467                     Guest Relations                                  Memphis, TN 38120
Toll free: 1-800-859-5339                     One Geoffrey Way                                 Toll free: 1-866-878-6446                                 Wayne, NJ 07470-2030                   

                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
Tone Brothers, Inc.                           Toll free: 1-800-869-7787                        Tupperware Corporation
2301 SE Tone’s Dr .                                                   PO Box 2353
Ankeny, IA 50021                                                                               Orlando, FL 32802
515-965-2711                                  Trane                                            Toll free: 1-800-366-3800
Toll free: 1-800-247-5251                     Residential Customer Relations                                    PO Box 9010
                                              Tyler, TX 75707                                  Turtle Wax, Inc.

                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
Top-Flite Professional                        903-581-3200 (Residential)                       Consumer Affairs
Golf Company                                  931-645-6471 (Commercial)                        PO Box 247
Consumer Department                                                     Willowbrook, IL 60559-0247
425 Meadow St .                                                                                630-455-3700
Chicopee, MA 01013                            TransUnion, LLC                                  708-563-3600
413-536-1200                                  PO Box 1000                                      Toll free: 1-800-805-7695
Toll free: 1-866-834-6532                     Chester, PA 19022                                Toll free: 1-800 Turtle Wax
                                                                                                                                       State & Local                                                                               Fax: 708-563-4302
                                              Toll free: 1-800-888-4213              
The Toro Co.                                  Fax: 610-546-4605
Consumer Service                                                   TV Guide
8111 Lyndale Ave ., South                                                                      PO Box 37360
Bloomington, MN 55420                         Travelers Companies, Inc.                        Boone, IA 50037
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional

612-888-8801                                  Consumer Affairs                                 Toll free: 1-800-866-1400
Toll free: 1-800-348-9939                     One Tower Square 5MS                             Fax: 515-433-5001
E-mail: consumer .service@toro .com           Hartford, CT 06183-9079                                                  Toll free: 1-800-328-2189

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                 103
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

TxU Energy                                    Unilever                                         US Airways
1601 Bryan St .                               Consumer Affairs Department/                     Consumer Affairs
Dallas, TX 75201-3401                         Consumer Services                                PO Box 1501
972-791-2888                                  800 Sylvan Ave .                                 Winston-Salem, NC 27102
Toll free: 1-800-242-9113                     Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632                       336-661-8126
Toll free: 1-800-460-3030                     Toll free: 1-800-621-2013                        Toll free: 1-866-523-5333
TTY: 1-800-468-3388 (Toll free)               Toll free: 1-800-782-8301                        Fax: 336-661-8187
Fax: 1-800-232-9448 (Toll free)                            
E-mail: txuenergy@txu .com                                   Uniroyal Tires                                   US Bancorp
                                              Consumer Relations                               U S Bancorp Center
Tyson Foods                                                                                    800 Nicollet Mall
                                              PO Box 19001
Consumer Relations                            Greenville, SC 29602-9001                        Minneapolis, MN 55402
PO Box 2020                                   Toll free: 1-877-458-5878                        Toll free: 1-800-872-2657
Springdale, AR 72765-2020                                            TTY: 1-800-685-5065 (Toll free)
Toll free: 1-800-233-6332                     United Airlines
Toll free: 1-800-643-3410                     77 West Wacker Dr .                                                V
Fax: 479-290-7930                             Chicago, IL 60601
E-mail: willie .barber@tyson .com             847-700-6796                                     The Valvoline Company                                 Toll free: 1-877-228-1327                        Customer Service
                                              Fax: 1-877-406-1059 (Toll Free)                  PO Box 14000
                 U                                                        Lexington, KY 40512
                                                                                               Toll free: 1-800-832-6825
UBS Financial Services Inc.                   United Online Inc.                     
Client Relations                              LNR Warner Center
PO Box 766                                    21301 Burbank Blvd                              Verizon Communications Inc.
Union City, NJ 07087                          Woodland Hills, CA 91367                        140 West St .
Toll free: 1-888-279-3343                     805-418-2000                                    New York, NY 10007
Toll free: 1-800-354-9103                     818-287-3000                                    Toll free: 1-800-621-9900
E-mail: onlineservices@ubs .com               Fax: 818-287-2001                               TTY: 1-800-974-6006 (Toll free)                          

U-Haul International                          United Van Lines, Inc.                           Vertical
Customer Service                              Fenton, MO 63026                                 Communications, Inc.
PO Box 21502                                  636-326-3100                                     Communications Software Group
Phoenix, AZ 85036-1502                        Toll free: 1-800-948-4885                        One Memorial Dr .
602-263-6771                                                   Cambridge, MA 02142
Toll free: 1-800-528-0463                                                                      617-354-0600
                                              Uno Chicago Grill                                617-491-2944
Toll free: 1-800-263-6011
Toll free: 1-800-789-3638                     100 Charles Park Rd .                            Toll free: 1-800-914-9985
Toll free: 1-800-468-4285                     Boston, MA 02132                                 Fax: 617-452-9159                                 617-323-9200                           
                                              Toll free: 1-866-600-8667
Uniden America Corporation                    E-mail: mail@unos .com                           Viacom, Inc.
Customer Service                                                         Corporate Relations
4700 Amon Carter Blvd .                                                                        1515 Broadway, 51st Floor
                                              UPS (United Parcel Service                       New York, NY 10036
Fort Worth, TX 76155
                                              of America, Inc.)                                212-258-6000
Toll free: 1-800-297-1023                     Customer Service                       
TTY: 1-800-874-9314 (Toll free)               55 Glenlake Pkwy ., NE
Fax: 1-800-323-2641 (Toll free)               Atlanta, GA 30328
E-mail: cservice@uniden .com                  Toll free: 1-800-742-5877                                TTY: 1-800-833-0056 (Toll Free)
                                              Fax: 404-828-6204

                                                                Provided financial support for the publication
104          Member of SOCAP International, see page 70         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Victoria’s Secret Stores                        Walgreens                                       Weight Watchers Gourmet
Customer Service                                Consumer Relations                              Food Company
North American Office                           200 Wilmot Rd .                                 Consumer Affairs
PO Box 16589                                    Deerfield, IL 60015                             11 Madison Ave .
Columbus, OH 43216-6589                         847-914-2500                                    New York, NY 10010
Toll free: 1-800-411-5116                       Toll free: 1-800-289-2273                       212-817-4200
Toll free: 1-800-474-7834 (En                   Toll free: 1-877-250-5823                       516-390-1400
Espanol)                                        TTY: 1-877-924-7889 (Toll free)                 Toll free: 1-800-651-6000
TTY: 1-800-666-0268                             Fax: 847-914-3105                               E-mail: customerservice@
E-mail: service@victorias                                                     weightwatchers .com
         secret .com                                                                                           Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
                                                Customer Relations                              Wells Fargo & Company

Visa USA, Inc.                                  702 SW Eighth St .                              Corporate Office
(Contact your issuing bank first)               Bentonville, AR 72716-0117                      420 Montgomery St .
PO Box 8999                                     479-273-4000                                    San Francisco, CA 94104
San Francisco, CA 94128-8999                    Toll free: 1-800-925-6278                       Toll free: 1-800-869-3557 (General)
Toll free: 1-800-847-2911                       Fax: 479-204-9798                               Toll free: 1-800-956-4442 (Online)

                                                                                                                                        BBB                                    E-mail: letters@wal-mart .com                   Toll free: 1-866-867-5568
                                                                        (Report Online Fraud)
The Vons Companies, Inc.                                                                        TTY: 1-800-877-4833 (Toll free);

                                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
Consumer Affairs                                Walter Drake, Inc.                              1-888-355-6052 (En Español –
628-821-7000                                    4630 Forge Rd ., Suite A                          Toll free)
Fax: 626-821-7902                               Colorado Springs, CO 80907                                                719-638-2400
                                                Toll free: 1-800-525-9291                       Wendy’s International, Inc.
                  W                             Fax: 1-888-252-8462 (Toll free)                 One Dave Thomas Blvd .
                                                                            Dublin, OH 43017-0256
                                                                                                614-764-3100, x 2032

                                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
Wachovia Corporation
                                                Waste Management, Inc.                          Toll free: 1-800-443-7266
Customer Service
                                                1001 Fannin St ., Suite 4000                    Fax: 614-764-6707
1525 West W .T . Harris Blvd .
                                                Houston, TX 77002                     
Charlotte, NC 28212
Toll free: 1-800-922-4684                                                                       West Bend Cookware
                                                                                                Cookware Consumer Service
                                                Water Pik Inc.                                  Department
Wachovia Securities, LLC

                                                                                                                                        National Consumer
                                                1730 East Prospect Rd .                         1100 Schmidt Rd .
901 East Byrd St .
                                                Fort Collins, CO 80553-0001                     West Bend, WI 53090
RIchmond, VA 23219
                                                970-484-1352                                    262-626-8623
                                                Toll free: 1-800-525-2774                       Fax: 262-626-8532
Wagner Spray Tech Corp.                         Fax: 970-221-8715                               E-mail: info@westbend
1770 Fernbrook Lane                                                           cookware .com
Plymouth, MN 55447                                                                    
                                                Weider Publications
                                                21100 Erwin St .                                West Point Home Inc.                    State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-328-8251
                                                Woodland Hills, CA 91367                        Consumer Affairs
Fax: 763-519-3563
                                                818-884-6800                                    PO Box 71
E-mail: custserv@wagner
                                                Toll free: 1-800-423-5590                       West Point, GA 31833-0609
         spraytech .com
                                                                        212-930-2000 (NY Office)
                                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-800-533-8229
                                                                                                E-mail: consumer .affairs@
                                                                                                         wpstv .com

                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 70               of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                 105
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Western Digital                               Wilke/Thornton, Inc.                              Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
20511 Lake Forest Dr .                        545 Metro Place South, Suite 430                  Consumer Affairs
Lake Forest, CA 92630-7741                    Dublin, OH 43017                                  410 North Michigan Ave .
949-672-7000                                  614-792-6900, ext . 176                           Chicago, IL 60611
Toll free: 1-800-275-4932                     Fax: 614-792-6901                                 312-644-2121                                   E-mail: info@wilke-thornton .com                  Toll free: 1-800-824-9681
Western Union Financial
Services, Inc.                                Williams-Sonoma, Inc.                             Wyeth Consumer Health Care
Customer Relations                            10000 Covington Cross Dr .                        Product Quality
PO Box 4430                                   Las Vegas, NV 89144                               PO Box 26609
Bridgeton, MO 63044                           702-360-7000                                      Richmond, VA 23261-6609
314-291-8000                                  Toll free: 1-800-541-1262                         973-660-5000
Toll free: 1-800-634-1311                     Toll free: 1-817-812-6235                         Toll free: 1-800-934-5556
Toll free: 1-800-325-6000                     Fax: 702-363-2541                       
Fax: 314-291-5271                                                                                               Wyse Technology
                                              Winn Dixie Stores, Inc.                           3471 North First St .
Wet Seal, Inc.                                Consumer Affairs                                  San Jose, CA 95134
26972 Burbank                                 PO Box B                                          408-473-1200
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610                      Jacksonville, FL 32203-0297                       Toll free: 1-800-438-9973
Toll free: 1-866-745-7938                     904-783-5000                            
E-mail: customerservice@                      Toll free: 1-866-946-6349
         wetseal .com                         Fax: 904-370-7789                                                   x                     
                                                                                                xerox Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation                         Winnebago Industries
                                                                                                PO Box 4505
Corporate Headquarters                        Owner Relations
                                                                                                45 Glover Ave .
2000 North M-63                               605 West Crystal Lake Rd .
                                                                                                Norwalk, CT 06856
Benton Harbor, MI 49022-2692                  PO Box 152
269-923-5000                                  Forest City, IA 50436-0152
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-800-275-9376
Toll free: 1-866-698-2538                     641-585-3535
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-800-822-2200 (Supplies)
Fax: 269-923-5443                             Toll free: 1-800-537-1885
                                                                                                Toll free: 1-877-979-8498
Customer Service                              Fax: 641-585-6966
                                                                                                 (Customer Relations)
269-923-5000                                  E-mail: or@winnabagoind .com
                                                                                                Toll free: 800-821-2797
Toll free: 1-800-253-1301 (Whirlpool)
                                                                                                 (Customer Technical Support)
Toll free: 1-800-422-1230
                                              Woodworker’s Supply, Inc.                         E-mail: webmaster@xerox .com
 (Kitchen Aid)
                                              Customer Service                        
E-mail: whirlpool_
customerexperience@                           1108 North Glenn Rd .
         whirlpool .com                       Casper, WY 82601                                                    Y                         307-237-5354
                                              Toll free: 1-800-231-2748, ext . 3001             Yahoo! Online
The White Rain Company                        Fax: 1-800-853-9663 (Toll Free)                   Customer Service
410 Ware Blvd ., Suite 900                                          701 First Ave .
Brandon, FL 33510                                                                               Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Toll free: 1-800-575-7960                     Wrangler                                          408-349-3300
Fax: 1-800-789-0828 (Toll free)               Consumer Relations                                Toll free: 1-866-562-7219
E-mail: comments@whiterain .com               VF Jeanswear LP – Quality Control                 Fax: 408-349-3301                             400 North Elm St .                      
                                              Greensboro, NC 27401
                                              Toll free: 1-888-784-8571
                                              E-mail: wranglerweb@vfc .com

                                                                 Provided financial support for the publication
106          Member of SOCAP International, see page 70          of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                             corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Yamaha Motor Corporation
Customer Relations
6555 Katella Ave .
Cypress, CA 90630
Toll free: 1-800-962-7926
Fax: 714-761-7303

See: Kyocera Optics

YUM! Brands, Inc.
1441 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, KY 40213
Toll free: 1-800-544-5774



                                                                                                           Corporate Contacts
zale Corporation
901 West Walnut Hill Lane
MS 6A-6
Irving, TX 75038-1003
Toll free: 1-800-311-5393
Fax: 972-580-5219
E-mail: CustomerService@

                                                                                                           Federal Agencies
         zales .com

zenith Electronics Corp.
Customer Service
2000 Millbrook Dr .
Lincolnshire, IL 60069

                                                                                                           National Consumer
Toll free: 1-800-243-0000

zoom Technologies, Inc.
207 South St .
Boston, MA 02111
561-997-0686 (Tech Support)                                                                                State & Local
                                                                                                           Trade & Professional

                                                    Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 70   of the Consumer Action Handbook.                 107
federal agencies

   Many	federal agencies have enforcement and/or complaint-handling duties for products and services
   used by the general public. Others act for the benefit of the public, but do not resolve individual
   consumer problems. Agencies also have fact sheets, booklets and other information that may be
   helpful when making purchase decisions or dealing with consumer problems. If you need help in
   deciding which federal agency to contact, check the index at the end of this book or call the Federal
   Citizen Information Center (FCIC) toll free, 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636). The federal agencies listed
   below respond to consumer complaints and inquiries.

Architectural and Transportation Barriers                   fraud, including foreign currency schemes, energy
Compliance Board (ACCESS Board)                             manipulation and hedge fund fraud, and works with
                                                            other federal and state agencies to bring criminal
1331 F St ., NW, Suite 1000                                 and other actions . The CFTC also engages in public
Washington, DC 20004-1111                                   education and outreach by participating in consumer
202-272-0080                                                groups and issuing Consumer Advisories and other
Toll free: 1-800-872-2253                                   educational materials .
TTY: 1-800-993-2822
Fax: 202-272-0081
E-mail: info@access-board .gov                              Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
                                                            4330 East West Highway
                                                            Bethesda, MD 20814
Commission on Civil Rights                                  Toll free: 1-800-638-2772 (CPSC Hotline)
                                                            TTY: 1-800-638-8270
624 9th St ., NW                                            Fax: 301-504-0127
Washington, DC 20743                                        E-mail: info@cpsc .gov
202-376-8513 (Complaint Referral in DC)           
202-376-8110 (Publications)                       , government recalls .
Toll free: 1-800-552-6843 (Complaint Referral Outside       CPSC is charged with protecting the public from
DC)                                                         unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from
TTY: 202-376-8116 (Nationwide Complaint Referral)           more than 15,000 types of consumer products, Provides updates on briefings,               including: toys and nursery equipment, appliances,
rulings, enforcements and news                              sports, yard and playground equipment, furniture,
                                                            clothing, computers, and fireworks . CPSC announces
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)                 more than 300 product recalls every year . Contact
                                                            CPSC to get information on product recalls or report
Office of External Affairs                                  a dangerous product .
Lafayette Center
1155 21st St ., NW
                                                            Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Washington, DC 20581
202-418-5000                                                Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
                                                            Legislative and Public Affairs
Fax: 202-418-5525
                                                            1400 Independence Ave ., SW
E-mail: oea@cftc .gov
                                                            South Building, Room 1147
                                                            Washington, DC 20250
The mission of the CFTC is to protect market users
and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive
                                                            E-mail: webmaster@aphis .usda .gov
practices related to the sale of commodity and
financial futures and options, and to foster open,
competitive, and financially sound futures and
option markets . In pursuit of its mission, the
CFTC investigates and prosecutes commodities

           Provided financial support for the publication
108        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                    federal agencies
Dept. of Agriculture, continued

The Cooperative State Research, Education,               Weights and Measures Division
and Extension Service (CSREES)                           National Institute of Standards and Technology
1400 Independence Ave ., SW                              100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2600
Mail Stop 2215                                           Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2600
Washington, DC 20250-2215                                301-975-4004
202-720-7947                                             Fax: 301-975-8091
Fax: 202-690-3162                                        E-mail: owm@nist .gov                                                                    The Weights and Measures Division promotes
To find your local Cooperative Extension office,         uniformity in U .S . weights and measures laws,
consult the county government lists in your local        regulations, and standards to achieve equity between
telephone directory . For online resources, go to        buyers and sellers in the marketplace .

                                                                                                                   Automotive .
                                                         Seafood Inspection Program
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion                National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services                    1315 East-West Hwy ., F/SI - Room 10837
3101 Park Center Dr ., 10 Fl .                           Silver Spring, MD 20910

Alexandria, VA 22302-1594                                301-713-2355
703-305-7600                                             Toll free: 1-800-422-2750
Fax: 703-305-3300                                        Fax: 301-713-1081

                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts                              
                                                         NOAA oversees fisheries management in the United
Food and Nutrition Service                               States and provides a voluntary inspection service to
Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services                    the industry . The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program
3101 Park Center Drive, Room 926                         offers product quality evaluation, grading, and
Alexandria, VA 22302                                     certification services . NOAA provides official marks
703-305-2281                                             to eligible products, such as U .S . Grade A, Processed

                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
E-mail: webmaster@fns .usda .gov                         Under Federal Inspection (PUFI) and Lot Inspection .
                                                         United States Patent and Trademark Office
Meat and Poultry Hotline                                 Toll free: 1-800-786-9199
Food Safety and Inspection Service                       TTY: 571-272-9950
Toll free: 1-888-MPHotline (10am-4pm ET,                 Fax: 703-872-9306
TTY: 1-800-256-7072

                                                                                                                   National Consumer
E-mail: mphotline .fsis@usda .gov                        Trademarks: Commissioner for Trademarks                                        Attention MPU
                                                         PO Box 1451
Information Line USDA                                    Alexandria, VA 22313-1451
1400 Independence Ave .                                  E-mail: TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto .gov
Washington, DC 20250
202-720-2791 (8:30am - 5:00pm ET)                        Patents: Commissioner for Patents                                             PO Box 1450                                               State & Local
                                                         Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
                                                         E-mail: usptoinfo@uspto .gov
Department of Commerce

Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
301-763-INFO (4636)
Toll free: 1-800-923-8282
Fax: 301-457-4714

        Provided financial support for the publication
        of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                     109
federal agencies

                                                             No Child Left Behind
Department of Defense
                                                             Toll free: 1-888-814-6252
National Committee for Employer Support                      TTY: 1-800-437-0833 (Toll free)
of the Guard and Reserve                                     Fax: 202-401-0689
1555 Wilson Blvd ., Suite 200                                E-mail: NoChildLeftBehind@ed .gov
Arlington, VA 22209-2405                           
703-696-1386                                                 No Child Left Behind is an initiative to ensure that all
Toll free: 1-800-336-4590 (Outside DC)                       children receive a high quality education and requires
Fax: 703-696-1409                                            greater accountability for that success by individual                                                 schools and school districts .
This office provides assistance with employer/
                                                             National Library of Education
employee problems for members of the Guard and
Reserve and their employers .                                400 Maryland Ave ., SW
                                                             Washington, DC 20202
Department of Education                                      202-205-5019
                                                             Toll free: 1-800-424-1616
Publications Center (EDPUBS)
                                                             TTY: 202-205-7561
8242 Sandy Court                                             E-mail: library@ed .gov
PO Box 1398                                                  The National Library of Education (NLE) serves as
Jessup, MD 20794-1398                                        the federal government’s primary resource center
Para español, llame al: 1-877-433-7827                       for education information, providing collections
Toll free: 1-877-433-7827                                    and information services to the public, education
TTY: 1-877-576-7724 (Toll free)                              community and other government agencies on
Fax: 301-470-1244                                            current and historical programs, activities and
E-mail: edpubs@inet .ed .gov                                 publications of the U .S . Department of Education,                                            federal education policy, and education research .
This office helps consumers identify and order free
publications and resources from the U .S . Department        Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
of Education .                                               Toll free: 1-800-538-3742
                                                             E-mail: support@eric .com
400 Maryland Ave ., SW                             
Washington, DC 20202-2800                                    Use this phone number to find out about the
Toll free: 1-800-872-5327                                    Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and
TTY: 1-800-437-0833                                          the world’s largest database of educational materials .
Fax: 202-401-0689                                            Call to learn about new materials or receive referrals, Federal Resources for                            to other agencies .
Educational Excellence
                                                             EDInfo Electronic Newsletter
                                                             E-mail: listserv@listserv .ed .gov
Toll free: 1-800-872-5327                          
TTY: 1-800-437-0833 (Toll free)                              html?src=ln
Fax: 202-401-0689                                            Join the EDInfo mailing list by:
E-mail: USA_LEARN@ed .gov                                    1 . Addressing an email message to                    listserv@listserv .ed .gov
Use this phone number and website to obtain                  2 . Writing this (and nothing else) in the message:
information on the Department of Education’s                     subscribe EDInfo yourfirstname yourlastname
programs and major initiatives; publications, videos,            (for example “subscribe EDInfo John Doe”) .
and other materials; directory assistance; and
referrals to specialists or other experts .

            Provided financial support for the publication
110         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                     federal agencies
Dept. of Education, continued

Information Resource Center                               Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
400 Maryland Ave ., SW                                    Office of the Assistant Secretary
Washington, DC 20202-0498                                 Mail Stop EE-1
202-401-2000 (DC Metro Area)                              Department of Energy
Toll free: 1-800-872-5327                                 Washington, DC 20585
TTY: 1-800-437-0833                                       202-586-9220
E-mail: education@custhelp .com                           202-586-0303               Toll free: 1-877-337-3463
The Information Resource Center provides customers        E-mail: eereic@ee .doe .gov
with accurate education information and offers  
guidance in accessing education resources .
                                                          Office of Scientific and Technical

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative            Information (OSTI)
Services (OSERS)                                          One Science .gov Way
400 Maryland Ave ., SW                                    PO Box 62 (ZIP: 37830)
Washington, DC 20202-2800                                 Oak Ridge, TN 37831
202-245-7488                                              865-576-1188

Toll free: 1-866-889-6737                                 865-576-8401 (Document Requests)
TTY: 202-205-4208                                         Fax: 865-576-3589
Fax: 202-245-7591                               

                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts            Use OSTI resources to find out about ongoing
                                                          research projects, explore significant DOE discoveries,
Federal Student Aid Information Center                    learn about DOE Nobel Prize Winners, access and
319-337-5665                                              search scientific e-prints, sign up for alerts, locate
Toll free: 1-800-433-3243                                 science conference papers and proceedings, and
TTY: 1-800-730-8913                                       more .
Fax: 202-708-7970
E-mail: OPE_SFA@ed .gov

                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
                                                          Department of Health and Human
                                                          Services (HHS), for students, for financial aid professionals          Administration for Children & Families (ACF), for information about direct loans
The Center provides information about federal student     370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW
aid for teachers, parents, students, administrators and   Washington, DC 20201
others . They provide comprehensive information on

                                                                                                                    National Consumer
federal student aid programs, including a Financial       ACF is responsible for federal programs that promote
Aid and Scholarship Wizard, college savings               the economic and social well-being of families,
calculator, and a career finder .                         children, individuals, and communities . ACF provides
                                                          national leadership and creates opportunities for
                                                          families to lead economically and socially productive
Department of Energy                                      lives . ACF’s programs are designed to help children
                                                          develop into healthy adults and communities become
Public Affairs                                            more prosperous and supportive of their members .
Department of Energy                                                                                                State & Local
1000 Independence Ave ., SW                               Child Welfare Information Gateway
Washington, DC 20585                                      Administration for Children & Families (ACF)
202-586-5575                                              1250 Mayland Ave ., SW, 8th Fl .
Toll free: 1-800-342-5363                                 Washington, DC 20024
                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional

Fax: 202-586-9987                                         703-385-7565                                               Toll free: 1-800-394-3366 (M-F, 9am-5:30pm ET)
                                                          Fax: 703-385-3206
                                                          E-mail: info@childwelfare .gov
                                                , Spanish website

       Provided financial support for the publication
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                       111
federal agencies
Dept. of HHS, continued

Administration on Aging                                       Clinical Laboratories (under the CLIA program), and
Washington, DC 20201                                          Children’s Health Insurance programs, and works to
202-619-0724                                                  make sure that the beneficiaries in these programs
Fax: 202-357-3555                                             are able to get high quality health care .
E-mail: aoainfo@aoa .hhs .gov                                                   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
AoA is the Federal focal point and advocate agency            1600 Clifton Rd .
for older persons and their concerns . In this role, AoA      Atlanta, GA 30333
works to heighten awareness among other Federal               404-498-1515 (Public Inquiries)
agencies, organizations, groups, and the public about         Toll free: 1-800-311-3435
the valuable contributions that older Americans make
to the nation . AoA also alerts others to the needs of, en español
vulnerable older people . Through information, referral
and outreach efforts at the community level, AoA              CDC National STD Hotline
seeks to educate older people and their caregivers            Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
about the benefits and services available to help them .      Toll free: 1-800-232-4636 (24 hrs .)
                                                              TTY: 1-800-243-7889 (M-F, 10 A .M . - 10 P .M . - Toll free)
Eldercare Locator                                   
Administration on Aging
From Outside the United States: 301-419-3900                  Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
   (When the operator answers – ask for the                   5600 Fishers Lane
   Eldercare Locator line)                                    Rockville, MD 20857-0001
Toll free: 1-800-677-1116 (M-F, 9 A .M . - 8 P .M . ET)       Toll free: 1-888-463-6332
TTY: 1-800-677-1116 (Toll free)                     
E-mail: eldercarelocator@infospherix .com                                             Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
The Eldercare Locator is the first step to finding            Information Line
resources for older adults in any U .S . community .          Food and Drug Administration
It is a free national service of the Administration           Outreach and Information Center
on Aging that provides an instant connection                  5100 Paint Branch Parkway HFS-555
to resources that enable older persons to live                College Park, MD 20740-3835
independently in their communities and offers                 Toll free: 1-888-723-3366 (10 A .M . - 4 P .M . EST)
support for caregivers . The National Association   
of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) administers the
Eldercare Locator in partnership with the National            National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA) .                 9000 Rockville Pike
                                                              Bethesda, MD 20892
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)                301-496-4000
Office of External Affairs                                    TTY: 301-402-9612
7500 Security Blvd .                                          E-mail: NIHinfo@od .nih .gov
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850                            
Toll free: 1-800-634 .2273 (24 hours a day,         , Spanish website
  7 days a week)                                              The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary
TTY: 1-866-226-1819 (Toll free)                               Federal agency for conducting and supporting                                              medical research .
Call 1-800-MEDICARE to get help with your questions
about Medicare . You can order Medicare publications          National Runaway Switchboard
(English, Spanish, audio-tape, Braille), get detailed         Administration for Children & Families (ACF)
information about the Medicare managed care plans             3080 N . Lincoln Ave .
in your area, order Medicare health plan quality              Chicago, IL 60657
and customer satisfaction information, and listen to          Toll free: 1-800-786-2929, 24/7
recorded questions and answers on topics such as              E-mail: info@nrscrisisline .org
Medicare health plan choices and health plan quality
information . CMS runs the Medicare, Medicaid,

             Provided financial support for the publication
112          of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                          federal agencies
Dept. of HHS, continued

Office of Child Support Enforcement                           NIMH is the federal agency that conducts and
Administration for Children & Families (ACF)                  supports research that seeks to understand, treat, and
370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW                                    prevent mental illness . Contact NIMH for information
Washington, DC 20447                                          on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of mental
202-401-9373                                                  disorders, clinical trials and research . A publications                                 ordering system is available on the NIMH website .
                                                              Some publications are available in Spanish .
Office For Civil Rights
Filing Complaints with OCR                                    President’s Council on Physical Fitness
200 Independence Ave . SW Room 509F, HHH Building             and Sports
Washington, DC 20201                                          Department W
Toll Free: 1-800-368-1019                                     200 Independence Ave ., SW, Room 738-H

TTY: 1-800-537-7697                                           Washington, DC 20201-0004
E-mail: ocrprivacy@hhs .gov                                   202-690-9000                                              Fax: 202-690-5211
                                                              E-mail: fitness@hhs .gov
National Health Information Center                  

PO Box 1133
Washington, DC 20013-1133                                     HHS-TIPS Fraud Hotline
301-565-4167                                                  Office of Inspector General

                                                                                                                            Corporate Contacts
Toll free: 1-800-336-4797                                     Attn: HOTLINE
Fax: 301-984-4256                                             PO Box 23489
E-mail: info@nhic .org                                        Washington, DC 20026                                           Toll free: 1-800-447-8477                                           TTY: 1-800-377-4950, Spanish website                 Fax: 1-800-223-8164 (Toll free)
NHIC is a health information referral service that links      E-mail: HHSTips@oig .hhs .gov
consumers and health professionals with organizations

                                                                                                                            Federal Agencies
best able to provide answers to their health-related
questions . NHIC also maintains .        HIV/AIDS Prevention
                                                              Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)                               Toll free: 1-800-232-4636 (24 hrs ., 7 days a week,
National Institutes of Health                                   in English and Español)
NCI Public Inquiries Office                                   TTY: 1-888-232-6348 (Toll free)
6116 Executive Boulevard - Room 3036A                         E-mail: cdcinfo@cdc .gov

                                                                                                                            National Consumer
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322                             
Toll free: 1-800-422-6237 (M-F, 9 A .M . - 4:30 P .M . EST,
  English/Spanish)                                            AIDSinfo
TTY: 1-800-332-8615 (Toll free)                               Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)                                                PO Box 6303, Spanish website                       Rockville, MD 20849-6303,           Toll free: 1-800-448-0440 (English/Español 12 P .M .-
                                                                                                                            State & Local
  (Live help online chat, M-F 9 A .M . - 11 P .M . EST)       5 P .M .)
                                                              TTY: 1-888-480-3739 (Toll free)
National Institute of Mental Health                           Fax: 301-519-6616
National Institutes of Health                                 E-mail: ContactUs@aidsinfo .nih .gov
6001 Executive Blvd .                               
                                                                                                                            Trade & Professional

Room 8184, MSC 9663                                 , Spanish
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663                             , Live help (M-F,
301-443-4513                                                  12 P .M . - 4 P .M . EST Spanish-speaking agents
Toll free: 1-866-615-6464                                     available)
TTY: 301-443-8431, 1-866-415-8051 (Toll Free)
Fax: 301-443-4279
E-mail: nimhinfo@nih .gov

       Provided financial support for the publication
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                               113
federal agencies

Department of Homeland Security                             and information on filing a claim for items that were
                                                            damaged or lost during a TSA screening .
Washington, DC 20528
202-282-8000                                                Federal Emergency Management Agency                                                 (FEMA)
                                                            500 C St ., S .W .
U.S. Customs and Border Protection                          Washington, DC 20472
1300 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW                                 Toll free: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
Washington, DC 20229                                        TTY: 1-800-462-7585 (Toll free)
Toll free: 1-877-227-5511
TTY: 1-866-880-6582                                         National Flood Insurance Program
Fax: 202-927-1380                                           FEMA                                                 500 C St ., SW
                                                            Washington, DC 20472
United States Coast Guard                                   202-646-2780
Coast Guard Headquarters                                    Toll free: 1-888-379-9531
2100 Second Street, SW                                      TTY: 1-800-427-5593 (Toll free)
Washington, DC 20593                                        Fax: 202-646-2531
Toll free: 1-800-424-8802                                   E-mail: floodsmart@dhs .gov
  (To report chemical and oil spills)             , boat safety tips, for information about chemical            FEMA Disaster Assistance
or oil spills                                               PO Box 10055
                                                            Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration                       Toll free: 1-800-621-3362
Services (USCIS)                                            TTY: 1-800-462-7585 (Toll free)
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW                                 Fax: 1-800-827-8112 (Toll free)
Washington, DC 20529                                        E-mail: FEMA-Correspondence-Unit@dhs .gov
Toll free: 1-800-375-5283                         
  (National Customer Service Center)
TTY: 1-800-767-1833                                         United States Fire Administration                                               National Emergency Training Center (NETC)
The USCIS is responsible for processing immigration         16825 South Seton Ave .
and naturalization applications and establishing            Emmitsburg, MD 21727
policies regarding immigration services .                   301-447-1117 (Office of the Superintendent,
                                                              National Fire Academy)
Ready Campaign                                              301-447-1286 (Office of the Superintendent,
Washington, DC 20528                                          Emergency Management Institute)
202-282-8010                                                Toll free: 1-800-238-3358
Toll free: 1-888-735-4786 (Spanish)               
TTY: 202-447-3543
E-mail: ready@dhs .gov
                                                            Department of Housing and Urban
                                                            Development, Spanish language version
or                                            Federal Housing Administration
Transportation Security Administration                      451 7th Street, SW
                                                            Washington, DC 20410
601 South 12th St .
                                                            Toll free: 1-800-225-5342
Arlington, VA 22202-4220
                                                            TTY: 202-708-1455
Toll free: 1-866-289-9673
                                                            E-mail: hud@custhelp .com
E-mail: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs .gov
The TSA can assist you with questions or concerns
about travel tips, permitted and prohibited items,

           Provided financial support for the publication
114        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                      federal agencies
Dept. of HUD, continued

FHA provides mortgage insurance on single-family,        for buildings constructed under HUD housing
multifamily, manufactured home, and hospital loans       programs . This includes new single family homes,
made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the              multi-family housing and health care type facilities .
United States and its territories .
                                                         Office of Affordable Housing Programs
Home Improvement Branch                                  451 7th St ., SW, Room 7164
451 Seventh St ., SW, Room 9272                          Washington, DC 20410
Washington, DC 20410                                     202-708-2685
202-708-2121                                             Toll free: 1-800-998-9999 (Community Connections)
Fax: 202-708-4308                                        Fax: 202-708-1744                       , Office of Affordable Housing

                                                         Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Single Family Housing Program Development
Home Mortgage Insurance Division                         451 7th St ., SW - Room 5204
451 Seventh St ., SW, Room 9266                          Washington, DC 20410-2000
Washington, DC 20410                                     202-708-4252
202-708-2121                                             Toll free: 1-800-669-9777 (Complaints Hotline)

Fax: 202-708-4308                                        TTY: 1-800-927-9275 (Toll free)                                              Fax: 202-708-4483
                                                         E-mail: fheo_webmanager@hud .gov

                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline              
HUD OIG Hotline(GFI)
451 7th St ., SW                                         Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales
Washington, DC 20410                                     Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for
202-708-4200                                             Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing
Toll free: 1-800-347-3735 (Outside DC)                   451 7th St ., SW, Room 9154
TTY: 1-202-708-2451                                      Washington, DC 20410
Fax: 202-708-4829                                        202-708-0502

                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
E-mail: hotline@hudoig .gov                              Toll free: 1-800-225-5342                          Fax: 202-708-4559
The OIG accepts reports of fraud, waste, abuse, and      E-mail: hsg-respa@hud .gov
serious mismanagement in HUD-funded programs   ,
and operations and refers such allegations to OIG        RESPA
investigators and auditors, or to HUD program  ,
officials to ensure that allegations of wrongdoing are   Interstate Land Sales

                                                                                                                        National Consumer
independently addressed .                                The office handles complaints and provides
                                                         information regarding real estate loan transactions
Office of Manufactured Housing Program                   and borrower rights under the Real Estate Settlement
Office of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory      Procedures Act (RESPA) . The Interstate Land Sales
Affairs and Manufactured Housing                         program protects consumers from fraud and abuse in
451 7th St ., SW, Room 9164                              the sale or lease of land .
Washington, DC 20410-8000
                                                                                                                        State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-927-2891                                Department of Justice
Fax: 202-708-4213
E-mail: mhs@hud .gov                                     Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),             Information Line
  Manufactured Housing                                   Civil Rights Division,
                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional

                                                         950 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
  Minimum Property Standards                             Disability Rights Section--NYAV
The Manufactured Housing Program is a consumer           Washington, DC 20530
protection program that regulates the construction       Toll free: 1-800-514-0301
of certain factory-built housing units called            TTY: 1-800-514-0383 (Toll free)
“manufactured homes,” formerly known as “mobile
homes .” HUD works with 37 states to respond

to consumer complaints . The Minimum Property
Standards (MPS) establish certain minimum standards

       Provided financial support for the publication
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                           115
federal agencies

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)                       The Employment and Training Administration
                                                            manages federal government job training and worker
8701 Morrisette Drive                                       dislocation programs, dispenses federal grants to
Springfield, VA 22152                                       states for public employment service programs, and
202-307-1000                                                administers unemployment insurance benefits . These                                                 services are primarily provided through state and
                                                            local workforce development systems .
Department of Labor
                                                            Occupational Safety and Health
Office of Disability Employment Policy                      Administration (OSHA)
U .S . Department of Labor                                  Office of Information and Consumer Affairs
200 Constitution Ave ., NW, Room S1303                      Department of Labor, Room N3647
Washington, DC 20210                                        200 Constitution Ave ., NW
202-693-7880                                                Washington, DC 20210
Toll free: 1-866-633-7365                                   Toll free: 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)
TTY: 202-693-7881 or 1-877-889-5627                         TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)
Fax: 202-693-7888                                 
                                                            Veteran’s Employment and Training Service
U.S. Department of Labor National                           Department of Labor, Room S1325
Contact Center                                              200 Constitution Ave ., NW
Toll free: 1-866-487-2365                                   Washington, DC 20210
TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)                             Toll free: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365)                                                 TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)
Employee Benefits Security Administration
Office of Program Services                                  Women’s Bureau
Department of Labor, Room N5623                             Department of Labor, Room S3002
200 Constitution Ave ., NW                                  200 Constitution Ave ., NW
Washington, DC 20210                                        Washington, DC 20210
Toll free: 1-866-444-3272                                   Toll free: 1-800-827-5335
TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)                             TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)                                            Fax: 202-693-6725
The Employmee Benefits Security Administration    
provides information and assistance on private              Established in 1920, the mission of the Women’s
sector, employer-sponsored retirement benefit and           Bureau is “to improve the status of wage-earning
health benefit plans .                                      women, improve their working conditions, increase
                                                            their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for
Employment Standards Administration                         profitable employment .” Today’s Women’s Bureau
Department of Labor, Room S2321                             promotes an environment that is responsive to the
200 Constitution Ave ., NW                                  demands and challenges of the 21st Century workforce .
Washington, DC 20210                                        The Bureau sponsors four Strengthening the Family
Toll free: 1-866-487-2365                                   Initiatives, which include Better Jobs!, Better Earnings!,
TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)                             Better Living!, and Value-Added Supporters! These                                             intiatives will help prepare women for tomorrow’s jobs
                                                            and ensure opportunities for American women to
Employment and Training Administration                      achieve their potential in the workplace . The Women’s
Office of Outreach                                          Bureau provides programs, information, resources,
Department of Labor, Room N4643                             and referral services for its constituents through one
200 Constitution Ave ., NW                                  national and ten regional offices .
Washington, DC 20210
Toll free: 1-877-872-5627
TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (Toll free)

           Provided financial support for the publication
116        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                       federal agencies

Department of State                                         The Bureau of Indian Affairs administers and
                                                            manages 55 .7 million acres of land held in trust for
Overseas Citizens Services                                  American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives .
Washington, DC 20520
202-647-5225 (Emergencies and Non-emergencies,              Bureau of Land Management
Mon .-Fri ., 8:15 A .M . - 10 P .M .)                       1849 C St ., NW, Room 406-LS
202-647-4000 (After hours emergencies, Sundays, and         Washington, DC 20240
holidays, ask for the duty officer)                         202-452-5125 (Public Affairs)
Toll free: 1-888-407-4747                                   Fax: 202-452-5124                                        The BLM-managed public lands offer more diverse
Contact the State Department for help with                  recreational opportunities than any other Federal
emergencies and non-emergencies affecting private           agency . BLM’s website provides information on such

Americans abroad .                                          topics as energy, fire, grazing lands, wild horses and
                                                            borros, and recreation .
National Passport Information Center
Passport Services                                           Fish and Wildlife Service
Toll free: 1-877-487-2778                                   1849 C Street, NW

TTY: 1-888-874-7793 (Toll free)                             MS 3351                               Washington, DC 20240
Contact the National Passport Information Center for        202-208-5634 (Public Affairs)

                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
information on U .S . passports, including the status of    Toll free: 1-800-344-9453
pending applications, as well as the locations of the
over 4,500 passport acceptance facilities .
                                                            Geological Survey
Visa Services                                               12201 Sunrise Valley Dr .
Washington, DC 20520                                        Reston, VA 20192
202-663-1225 (8:30 A .M . - 5:00 P .M ., EST M-F)           703-648-4460 (Public Affairs)
Emergency after hours: 202-647-1512                         Toll free: 1-888-275-8747

                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
Fax: 202-663-3897                                 
E-mail: usvisa@state .gov                                   National Park Service
Contact Visa Services for information on U .S . visas for   1849 C Street NW
foreigners .                                                Washington, DC 20240
                                                            202-208-4747 (Public Inquiries)
Department of the Interior

                                                                                                                      National Consumer
Bureau of Reclamation                                       Department of the Treasury
1849 C St ., NW
Mail Code 92-00000                                          Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Washington, DC 20240                                        Public Information Officer
202-513-0535 (Public Affairs)                               1310 G Street, NW, 3rd Floor                                                Washington, DC 20220
                                                            202-927-8062                                              State & Local
Minerals Management Service                                 Fax: 202-927-5611
1849 C Street NW                                            E-mail: ttbquestions@ttb .treas .gov
Washington, DC 20240                              
202-208-3985 (Public Affairs)
                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional                                                 Bureau of Engraving and Printing
                                                            Office of External Relations
Bureau of Indian Affairs                                    14th and C Streets, SW, Room 533 M
1849 C St ., NW, Room 4542                                  Washington, DC 20228
Washington, DC 20240                                        202-874-8888
202-208-3710 (Public Affairs)                               Toll free: 1-877-874-4114                           Fax: 202-874-3177


       Provided financial support for the publication
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                         117
federal agencies
Dept. of the Treasury, continued

Bureau of the Public Debt                                       The Office of Thrift Supervision handles complaints
Customer Call Center                                            about Federal savings and loans and Federal
Treasury Direct                                                 savings banks .
PO Box 9150
Minneapolis, MN 55480                                           United States Mint
Toll free: 1-800-722-2678                                       Customer Service Center                                        801 9th Street, NW
                                                                Washington, DC 20220
Comptroller of the Currency                                     Toll free: 1-800-872-6468
Customer Assistance Group                                       TTY: 1-888-321-6468
1301 McKinney St ., Suite 3450                        
Houston, TX 77010
Toll free: 1-800-613-6743                                       Department of Transportation (DOT)
                                                                Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Financial Management Service
                                                                400 7th St ., SW
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs                        Washington, DC 20590
Liberty Center 401, 14th St ., SW,                              202-366-2519
Room 555                                                        Toll free: 1-800-832-5660
Washington, DC 20227                                            TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Toll free)
Fax: 202-874-7016                                     ,                                               information about your rights when moving
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)                        , Interstate moving
Toll free: 1-800-829-1040 (General Information)                 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Toll free: 1-800-829-4477 (Automated Refund                     provides information about your rights when moving
Information)                                                    across state lines (interstate moves) . Consumers
TTY: 1-800-829-4059 (Toll free)                                 should submit household goods (HHG)commercial                                                     complaints or dangerous safety violations involving a
IRS e-file and IRS e-payment are now available                  commercial truck or bus to this agency .
through the IRS website . To find out whether the IRS
received your return and whether it was processed,              Federal Aviation Administration
visit the IRS website or call 1-800-829-4477 or 1-800-          800 Independence Ave ., SW
829-1040 . Whichever method you choose, you’ll need             Washington, DC 20591
your Social Security number, filing status, and the             202-366-4000
refund amount . Employer Identification Numbers (EIN)           Toll free: 1-866-835-5322
can be obtained by fax, mail, or phone . To get an EIN
by fax or mail, download Form SS-4, Application for
Employer ID Number, from or order a                 Aviation Consumer Protection Division
copy from 1-800-829-3676 . Complete the form and
                                                                Office of Aviation Enforcement & Proceedings
fax or mail it to the number or address shown on the
                                                                1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
form for your state . To get an EIN by phone, call toll-
free 1-866-816-2065 Monday through Friday between
                                                                Washington, DC 20590
7:30 a .m . and 5:30 p .m . local time . Don’t fall victim to
                                                                202-366-2220 (Airline service complaints)
a frivolous tax argument or abusive scheme . Be on
                                                                Toll free: 1-800-778-4838 (Air travelers with
guard for tax scams and recognize that if something
                                                                  disabilities hotline)
sounds too good to be true, it probably is .
                                                                TTY: 202-366-0511; 1-800-455-9880
Office of Thrift Supervision                                    E-mail: airconsumer@dot .gov
Compliance Policy                                     ,
1700 G St ., NW                                                 Spanish
Washington, DC 20552                                            Contact AIR Consumer Protection Division with airline
202-906-6000                                                    service complaints .
Toll free: 1-800-842-6929
              Provided financial support for the publication
118           of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                       federal agencies
Dept. of Transportation, continued

Office of Safety (RRS)                                     Veterans Benefits Administration
Federal Railroad Administration office address:            810 Vermont Ave ., NW
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE                                 Washington, DC 20420
Washington, DC 20090                                       202-461-9763 (Publications Only)
202-493-6300                                               Toll free: 1-800-827-1000
Fax: 202-493-6309                                                                            Veterans Health Administration
Railway Safety mailing address:
Federal Railroad Administration                            810 Vermont Ave ., NW
400 Seventh Street, SW                                     Washington, DC 20420
Mail Stop 25                                               Toll free: 1-877-222-8387
                                                           Fax: 202-273-9609

Washington, DC 20590
                                                 , Veteran health resources
National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA)                                     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE,

                                                           Energy Star Program

West Building
Washington, DC 20590                                       1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
Toll free: 1-888-327-4236,                                 Room 6202J

                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
  Vehicle Safety Hotline                                   Washington, DC 20460
TTY: 1-800-424-9153                                        703-412-3086                                          Toll free: 1-888-782-7937
NHTSA wants to hear from consumers regarding               E-mail: hotline@energystar .gov
potential defects in their cars . NHTSA’s hotline has
information on safety recalls, crash test ratings, child   The ENERGY STAR label is awarded to products for

safety seats, bicycles, air bags, and impaired driving     the home and office that are highly energy efficient .
prevention .                                               The program encourages the use of energy efficient

                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
                                                           products that both protect the environment and save
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)                        consumers money .

Toll free: 1-800-827-1000                                  Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse
TTY: 1-800-829-4833                                        (IAQ INFO)                                                 PO Box 37133
For information about VA medical care or benefits,         Washington, DC 20013-7133

                                                                                                                      National Consumer
write, call or visit your nearest VA facility .            703-356-4020
                                                           Toll free: 1-800-438-4318
Consumer Affairs Service                                   Fax: 703-356-5386
810 Vermont Ave ., NW                                      E-mail: IAQINFO@aol .com
Washington, DC 20420                             
202-461-7402                                               This agency is central source of information on
Fax: 202-273-5716                                          indoor air quality . It is responsible for implementing
                                                           the Indoor Environments Program, a voluntary (non-
                                                                                                                      State & Local
Contact the Consumer Affairs Service for consumer          regulatory) program to address indoor air pollution .
information or general assistance .

National Cemetery Administration
810 Vermont Ave ., NW
                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional

Washington, DC 20420
Fax: 202-273-6698
Contact the National Cemetery Administration for
information about burials, headstones or markers,
the State Cemetery Grants Program, and presidential

memorial certificates .

       Provided financial support for the publication
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                         119
federal agencies
Environmental Protection Agency, continued

Inspector General’s Fraud, Waste and                          Safe Drinking Water Hotline
Abuse Hotline                                                 703-412-3330
1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW, (2443)                           Toll free: 1-800-426-4791
Washington, DC 20460                                
202-566-2476                                                  The Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water helps
Toll free: 1-888-546-8740 (Fraud, Waste and                   protect public health by ensuring safe drinking water
  Abuse Hotline)                                              and protecting ground water . This office oversees
Fax: 202-566-2549                                             implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which
E-mail: oig_hotline@epa .gov                                  is the national law safeguarding tap water in America .
EPA’s Hotline Coordinator receives, reviews, and              Toxic Substances Control Act Assistance
processes complaints and allegations about agency             Information Service Hotline (TSCA)
waste and abuse .                                             202-554-1404
                                                              Fax: 202-554-5603
EPA Headquarters Information                                  E-mail: tsca-hotline@email .epa .gov
Resources Center                                    
1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
Mail Code 3404T                                               Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Washington, DC 20460
202-566-0556                                                  Office of Communications and Legislative
Fax: 202-556-0562                                             Affairs
E-mail: library-hq@epa .gov                                   1801 L St ., NW                                    Washington, DC 20507
This is the EPA headquarters library, which provides          202-663-4191
assistance in locating EPA and environmental                  Toll free: 1-800-669-4000
information, including general interest, non-technical        TTY: 202-663-4494 or 1-800-669-6820
publications on a variety of environmental topics .           Fax: 202-663-4912
National Pesticide Information Center                         E-mail: info@eeoc .gov
Oregon State University
333 Weniger Hall
Corvalis, OR 97331-6502                                       Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Toll free: 1-800-858-7378 (United States, Puerto Rico,
Virgin Islands)                                               Consumer Center
Fax: 541-737-0761                                             Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB)
E-mail: npic@ace .orst .edu                                   445 12th St ., SW                                                 Washington, DC 20554
A service that provides objective, science-based              Toll free: 1-888-225-5322
information about a wide variety of pesticide-related         TTY: 1-888-835-5322
subjects, including: pesticide products, recognition          Fax: 1-866-418-0232
and management of pesticide poisonings, toxicology,           E-mail: fccinfo@fcc .gov
environmental chemistry .                           
                                                              FCC accepts public inquiries, informal complaints,
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act                        and questions regarding cable, radio, satellite,
(RCRA)                                                        telephone, television and wireless services .
US EPA Office of Solid Waste (5305P)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

             Provided financial support for the publication
120          of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                     federal agencies

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)             Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Consumer Response Center                                 Federal Trade Commission
2345 Grand Boulevard, Ste . 100                          Bureau of Consumer Protection
Kansas City, MO 64108                                    Consumer Response Center
Toll free: 1-877-275-3342                                600 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
TTY: 1-800-925-4618 (Toll free)                          Washington, DC 20580
Fax: 703-812-1020                                        Toll free: 1-877-382-4357                                             TTY: 1-866-653-4261 (Toll free),     
Online Consumer Assistance Form                , Internet fraud protection

FDIC responds to questions about federal deposit         The FTC works for the consumer to prevent
insurance coverage and handles complaints and            fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices
inquiries about FDIC-insured state banks that are not    in the marketplace and to provide information to
members of the Federal Reserve System .                  help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them . To file
                                                         a complaint or to get free information on consumer

Federal Maritime Commission                              issues, visit the website or call the toll-free numbers
                                                         above . The FTC records Internet, telemarketing,
Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)                        identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints

                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
Office of the Secretary                                  in Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database
Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute                     available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
  Resolution Service                                     enforcement agencies in the U .S . and abroad .
800 North Capitol St ., NW
Washington, DC 20573                                     General Services Administration
Fax: 202 275-0059                                        Federal Citizen Information Center

                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
E-mail: Complaints@fmc .gov                              Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC)                                              1800 F Street, NW
FMC is the regulatory agency overseeing ocean            Room G-142
carriers and certain other entities, operating in        Washington, DC 20405
the waterborne foreign commerce of the U .S .            For Catalog Orders: Send your name
FMC assists consumers engaged in disputes                and address to Catalog, Pueblo, CO 81009
with transporting carriers, ocean transportation         202-501-1794
intermediaries and cruise operators .                    Toll free: 1-800-333-4636

                                                                                                                    National Consumer
                                                         Fax: 202-501-4281
Federal Reserve System                         , the U .S . government’s official web
Federal Reserve Consumer Help                  , FCIC homepage
PO Box 1200                                    , consumer information
Minneapolis, MN 55480                                    and tips
                                               , citizen services
                                                                                                                    State & Local
Toll free: 1-888-851-1920 (8am-6pm, CT)
TTY: 1-877-766-8533 (Toll free) (8am-6pm, CT)  , USA .gov for kids
Fax: 1-877-888-2520 (Toll free)                , USA .gov in Spanish
E-mail: consumerhelp@federalreserve .gov       , consumer information in                       Spanish
The Federal Reserve Board has consolidated its           FCIC publishes the free, quarterly Consumer
                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional

consumer channels to allow for more efficient            Information Catalog, which lists more than 200 free
investigation of complaints about state member           and low-cost Federal booklets on a wide variety of
banks .                                                  consumer topics, and maintains a family of websites
                                                         to help provide free, timely and useful information
                                                         to citizens . Consumers can get the information they
                                                         need in three ways: through printed publications,
                                                         by calling toll-free 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636), or by

                                                         visiting, the U .S .government’s official
                                                         web portal .
        Provided financial support for the publication
        of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                      121
federal agencies
GSA, continued

Surplus Federal Property Sales                               National Credit Union Administration
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20405                                         National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
Toll free: 1-800-488-3111                                    1775 Duke St ., GSA homepage                                    Alexandria, VA 22314-3428, GSA online auctions                         703-518-6300
GSA helps federal agencies dispose of unneeded               Toll free: 1-800-827-9650 (Fraud Hotline)
property by selling directly to the public . They sell       E-mail: pacamail@ncua .gov
personal property, real estate, and vehicles to the
public . For more information, visit and         NCUA is the federal agency that charters and
click “For Citizens .” The GSA Auctions e-tool offers        supervises federal credit unions and insures savings

the general public the opportunity to bid electronically     in federal and most state-chartered credit unions
on many federal assets . The auctions are completely         across the country through the National Credit Union
web-enabled, allowing all registered participants to         Share Insurance Fund .
bid on a single item or multiple items (lots) within
specified timeframes . To access GSA Auctions, visit
                                                             National Labor Relations Board .
                                                             Division of Information
National Archives and Records Administration                 1099 14th St ., NW
                                                             Washington, DC 20570-0001
8601 Adelphi Rd .                                            202-273-1991
College Park, MD 20740-6001                                  Toll free: 1-866-667-6572
Toll free: 1-866-272-6272                                    TTY: 1-866-315-6572
TTY: 301-837-0482                                            Fax: 202-273-1789
Fax: 301-837-0483                                  
E-mail: inquire@nara .gov                                    The NLRB conducts elections to determine whether                                             or not employees want union representation and
NARA is an independent federal agency that helps             investigates and remedies unfair labor practices by
preserve our nation’s history by overseeing the              employers and unions .
management of all federal records .
                                                             Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
National Council on Disability (NCD)
                                                             1900 E Street, NW
Director of Communications                                   Washington, DC 20415
1331 F St ., NW,                                             202-606-1800
Suite 850                                                    TTY: 202-606-2532
Washington, DC 20004                                         E-mail: general@opm .gov
TTY: 202-272-2074                                            OPM manages the civil service of the federal
Fax: 202-272-2022                                            government, coordinates the recruitment of new
E-mail: ncd@ncd .gov                                         government employees, and manages their health                                                  insurance and retirement benefits programs . It also
The National Council on Disability is an independent         provides resources for locating student jobs, summer
federal agency making recommendations to the                 jobs, scholarships, and internships .
President and Congress on policies affecting
Americans with disabilities . NCD works to empower
individuals with disabilities and to promote equal
opportunity .

            Provided financial support for the publication
122         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                      federal agencies

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation                      Small Business Administration (SBA)
Customer Contact Center                                   409 3rd Street, SW, Suite 7600
PO Box 151750                                             Washington, DC 20416
Alexandria, VA 22315-1750                                 202-205-6740
Toll free: 1-800-400-7242                                 Toll free: 1-800-827-5722 (Information)
TTY: 1-800-877-8339                                       TTY: 704-344-6640
Fax: 202-326-4047 or 202-326-4147                         Fax: 202-481-6190                                              E-mail: answerdesk@sba .gov                 
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation protects         The SBA helps Americans start, build, and grow
the retirement incomes of workers in private sector       businesses through an extensive network of field

defined pension benefit plans .                           offices and partnerships with public and private
                                                          organizations . For the office nearest you, look under
                                                          “U .S . Government” in your telephone directory .
Railroad Retirement Board

844 North Rush St .                                       Social Security Administration
Chicago, IL 60611-2092
312-751-7139                                              Office of Public Inquiries

                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
Toll free: 1-800-808-0772 (Helpline)                      2555 Windsor Park Bldg .
TTY: 312-751-4701                                         6401 Security Blvd .                                   Baltimore, MD 21235
The Railroad Retirement Board is an independent           Toll free: 1-800-772-1213
agency in the executive branch of the Federal   
Government . The Board’s primary function is to           The Social Security Administration provides
administer comprehensive retirement-survivor and          retirement, survivors and disability benefits, as well
unemployment-sickness benefit programs for the            as administers Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
nation’s railroad workers and their families, under       payments . To report Social Security or SSI fraud,
the Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment         call toll free: 1-800-269-0271 .
Insurance Acts .
                                                          Surface Transportation Board (STB)
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
                                                          Department of Transportation
Office of Investor Education and Advocacy                 395 E Street, SW

                                                                                                                     National Consumer
100 F Street, NE                                          Washington, DC 20423-0001
Washington, DC 20549-0213                                 202-245-0245
202-551-6551                                              TTY: 1-800-877-8339
Toll free: 1-800-732-0330                       
Fax: 202-772-9295                                         The STB resolves railroad rate and service disputes
E-mail: help@sec .gov                                     and reviews proposed railroad mergers . The STB is, Investor information          decisionally independent, although it is
                                                          administratively affiliated with the Department of
                                                                                                                     State & Local, Complaint form
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy       Transportation .
provides a variety of services to help individuals
address the problems and questions they may face as
an investor . OIEA’s investor website above contains an
                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional

extensive collection of free information on investing
wisely and avoiding fraud .

      Provided financial support for the publication
      of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                         123
federal agencies

U.S. Postal Service

Vice President and Consumer Advocate
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Room 10427
Washington, DC 20260-2200
Toll free: 1-800-275-8777
TTY: 1-877-889-2457
The US Postal Service Consumer Advocate listens to
the voice of the customer and amplifies the message
to postal management . Through proactive external
messaging, the Consumer Advocate also channels
information from the Postal Service to customers on
postal policy and procedures and on ways to get the
most from their Post Office .

United States Postal Inspection Service
Criminal Investigations Service Center
ATTN: Mail Fraud
222 S . Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250
Chicago, IL 60606-6100
Toll free: 1-877-876-2455
If you believe you have been the victim of a crime
involving the U .S . mail or need assistance with postal-
related problems of a law enforcement nature, you
should contact your nearest Postal Inspection Service
office . Addresses and telephone numbers can be
found in the government pages of your telephone book
or by visiting the Postal Inspection Service website .

            Provided financial support for the publication
124         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
naTional consumer organizaTions

  These organizations define their missions as consumer assistance, protection and/or advocacy.
  The descriptions below are based on information they provided.
  The type of service provided by each organization varies. Those that assist individuals with problems
  are specified. The others do not assist consumers with individual complaints, but they may be interested
  in hearing from consumers about problems, issues and trends in connection with their advocacy and
  consumer education activities.
  Most,	 though	 not	 all,	 distribute	 consumer	 education	 and	 information	 materials.	 Where	 informational	
  or educational materials are offered, there may be a charge; contact the organization to find out.

AARP                                              ACCI is the leading consumer            Center for Science in the
601 East St ., NW                                 policy research and education           Public Interest (CSPI)
Washington, DC 20049                              organization consisting of a world-     1875 Connecticut Ave ., NW, Ste . 300
Toll free: 1-888-687-2277                         wide community of researchers,          Washington, DC 20009
TTY: 1-877-434-7598 (Toll free)                   educators and related professionals .   202-332-9110                                                                              Fax: 202-265-4954
                                                  American Council on Science
AARP is committed to addressing                                                           E-mail: cspi@cspinet .org
                                                  and Health (ACSH)
those consumer problems and                                                     
                                                  New York, NY 10023-5860
issues that especially impact the                                                         A nonprofit, membership
financial security of people 50 years                                                     organization, CSPI conducts
                                                  Fax: 212-362-4919
and older . Through advocacy at the                                                       research, education, and advocacy
                                                  E-mail: acsh@acsh .org
federal and state levels, AARP works                                                      on nutrition, health, food safety and
to make the marketplace safer for                                                         related issues, and publishes the
                                                  A nonprofit public education group,
all consumers . AARP also employs                                                         monthly Nutrition Action Healthletter
                                                  ACSH provides consumers with
a variety of strategies to help AARP                                                      as well as other consumer
                                                  up-to-date scientifically sound
members protect themselves from                                                           information materials .
                                                  information on the relationship
fraud and deceptive practices .
                                                  between human health and                Consumers’ Checkbook
Alliance Against Fraud                            chemicals, foods, lifestyles, and the   Magazine
1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200                       environment . Booklets and special      1625 K St ., NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20006                              reports on a variety of topics are      Washington, DC 20006
202-835-3323                                      available .                             202-347-7283
Fax: 202-835-0747                                                                         Toll free: 1-800-213-7283
                                                  Center for Auto Safety (CAS)
E-mail: info@nclnet .org                                                                  Fax: 202-347-4000
                                                  1825 Connecticut Ave ., NW, Ste . 330                                                           E-mail: info@checkbook .org
                                                  Washington, DC 20009
The Alliance, coordinated by the                                                
National Consumers League, is a                                                           The Center for the Study of Services
coalition of public interest groups,                                                      is an independent, nonprofit
                                                  CAS advocates on behalf of
trade associations, labor unions,                                                         consumer organization . The
                                                  consumers in auto safety and
businesses, law enforcement                                                               organization’s purpose is to provide
                                                  quality, fuel efficiency, emissions,
agencies, educators, and consumer                                                         consumers with information to
                                                  and related issues . For advice
protection agencies . AAF members                                                         help them get high quality services
                                                  on specific problems, CAS
promote efforts to educate the public                                                     and products at the best possible
                                                  requests that consumers write a
about telemarketing and Internet                                                          prices . Consumers CHECKBOOK
                                                  brief statement of the problem or
fraud and how to shop safely by                                                           evaluates the quality and prices of
                                                  question, including the year, make
phone and online .                                                                        service firms and stores . The Center
                                                  and model of the vehicle . Mail it
                                                                                          also provides help to consumers
American Council on                               with a stamped self-addressed
                                                                                          shopping for vehicles and
Consumer Interests (ACCI)                         envelope to the address above .
                                                                                          healthcare, through the publications:
555 East Wells St ., # 1100
                                                                                          CarBargains, LeaseWise, Cardeals,
Milwaukee, WI 53202
                                                                                          The Guide to Health Plans for Federal
                                                                                          Employees, Guide to Top Doctors, and
Fax: 414-276-3349
                                                                                          Consumers’ Guide to Hospitals.
E-mail: info@consumerinterests .org

           Provided financial support for the publication
125        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                      naTional consumer agencies

Certified Financial Planner                         Consumer Action                             inform, and protect . To maintain
Board of Standards                                  221 Main St ., Suite 480                    our independence and impartiality,
1425 K St ., NW, Ste . 500                          San Francisco, CA 94105                     CU accepts no outside advertising,
Washington, DC 20005                                415-777-9635 (Consumer Complaints)          no free test samples, and has no
202-379-2200                                        213-623-8327 (Hotline)                      agenda other than the interests of
Toll free: 1-888-237-6275                           TTY: 415-777-9456                           consumers . See also: Consumers
Fax: 202-379-2299                                   Fax: 415-777-5267                           Union .
E-mail: mail@cfpboard .org                          E-mail: info@consumer-action .org
                                                                                                Consumers for World Trade                               
Certified Financial Planner Board                   An education and advocacy
                                                                                                1001 Connecticut Ave ., N .W ., Suite 1110
of Standards is a nonprofit                         organization specializing in credit,
                                                                                                Washington, DC 20036
regulatory organization that fosters                finance, and telecommunications

professional standards in personal                  issues, Consumer Action offers a
                                                                                                Fax: 202-293-0495
financial planning . The CFP Board                  multi-lingual consumer complaint
                                                                                                E-mail: cwt@cwt .org
works to ensure that the public                     hotline, free information on its
values, has access to, and benefits                 surveys of banks and long-distance
                                                                                                A nonprofit organization, CWT
from competent financial planning .                 telephone companies, and consumer
                                                                                                supports trade expansion and

The CFP Board certifies financial                   education materials in as many as
                                                                                                liberalization to promote economic
planners who meet its requirements                  eight languages . Community-based
                                                                                                growth and increase consumer
by granting use of these marks,                     organizations can receive these free
                                                                                                choice and price competition in the

                                                                                                                                             Corporate Contacts
CFP, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL                            publications in bulk .

                                                                                                marketplace . Various publications
PLANNER™ and CFP (with
                                                    Consumer Federation of                      are available .
flame logo) .
                                                    America (CFA)
                                                                                                Consumers Union
Coalition Against Insurance                         1620 I St ., Suite 200
                                                                                                101 Truman Ave .
Fraud                                               Washington, DC 20006
                                                                                                Yonkers, NY 10703-1057
Washington, DC 20005                                202-387-6121
202-393-7330                                        Fax: 202-265-7989
                                                                                                Fax: 914-378-2900
Toll free: 1-800-835-6422                           E-mail: cfa@consumerfed .org

                                                                                                                                             Federal Agencies
Fax: 202-318-9189                         
                                                                                                Consumers Union (CU), publisher
E-mail: info@insurancefraud .org                    CFA is a consumer advocacy
                                                                                                of Consumer Reports, is an                              and education organization . It
                                                                                                independent, nonprofit testing and
The Coalition Against Insurance                     currently represents consumer
                                                                                                information organization serving only
Fraud is a national alliance of                     interests on issues such as,
                                                                                                consumers . CU is a comprehensive
consumer groups, government                         telephone service, insurance and
                                                                                                source for unbiased advice about
agencies, and insurance companies                   financial services, product safety,

                                                                                                                                             National Consumer
                                                                                                products and services, personal
dedicated to combating all forms of                 indoor air pollution, health care,
                                                                                                finance, health and nutrition, and
insurance fraud through advocacy                    product liability, and utility rates . It
                                                                                                other consumer concerns . Since
and public information . It conducts                develops and distributes studies of
                                                                                                1936, their mission has been to test
research, develops public education                 various consumer issues, as well
                                                                                                products, inform the public, and
programs and provides information                   as consumer guides in book and
                                                                                                protect consumers . CU’s Advocacy
on how to avoid becoming a victim                   pamphlet form . In addition, CFA
                                                                                                Offices provide tools to consumers
of insurance fraud .                                publishes several newsletters .
                                                                                                to make their concerns heard by
Congress Watch                                      Consumer Reports                            government and industry . They               State & Local
Washington, DC 20003                                Yonkers, NY 10703-1057                      also testify before Federal and state
202-546-4996                                        914-378-2000                                legislative and regulatory bodies,
Fax: 202-547-7392                                   Fax: 914-378-2900                           petition government agencies,
E-mail: congresswatch@citizen .org                             emphasizing a national grass roots
                                                                                                                                             Trade & Professional                            Consumer Reports is published by            approach on behalf of consumers .

An arm of Public Citizen, Congress                  Consumers Union (CU), an expert,            See also: Consumer Reports .
Watch works for consumer-related                    independent nonprofit organization
legislation, regulation, and policies               whose mission is to work for a              Consumer Policy Institute
in such areas as health and safety,                 fair, just, and safe marketplace for        914-378-2455
and campaign financing, and has                     all consumers and to empower                Fax: 914-378-2928
publications available on the issues                consumers to protect themselves .

with which it deals .                               To achieve this mission, we test,

   Provided financial support for the publication
   of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                                                    126
naTional consumer organizaTions
Consumers Union, continued

Washington DC Office                              from the nation’s capitol, no-strings-   A division of Public Citizen, HRG
1101 17th St . NW, Suite 500                      attached Disaster Aid, continuing        works for protection against unsafe
Washington, DC 20036                              education scholarships, community        foods, drugs, medical devices,
202-462-6262                                      and classroom grants, assistance         and workplaces, and advocates
Fax: 202-265-9548                                 for small business owners, travel        for greater consumer control over
                                                  discounts, and a Consumer                personal health decisions . A
Southwest Regional Office                         Hotline/Library .                        monthly Health Letter and a
506 West 14th, Suite A                                                                     monthly letter on prescription
                                                  Funeral Consumers Alliance
Austin, TX 78701-1643                                                                      drugs are available .
                                                  33 Patchen Rd .
512-477-4431                                      South Burlington, VT 05403               Hearing Loss Association
Fax: 512-477-8934                                 802-865-8300                             of America
                                                  Toll free: 1-800-765-0107                7910 Woodmont Ave ., Suite 1200
West Coast Regional Office                        Fax: 802-865-2626                        Bethesda, MD 20814
1535 Mission St .                                 E-mail: info@funerals .org               301-657-2248
San Francisco, CA 94103-2512                                     TTY: 301-657-2249
415-431-6747                                      Funeral Consumers Alliance is a          Fax: 301-913-9413
Fax: 415-431-0906                                 nonprofit educational organization       E-mail: info@hearingloss .org
Families USA                                      protecting a consumer’s right to
1201 New York Ave . NW,                           choose a dignified, meaningful,          The Hearing Loss Association of
Suite 1100                                        affordable funeral . In addition to      America is a nonprofit serving
Washington, DC 20005                              informing the public about their         the interests of consumers with
202-628-3030                                      available options and rights, FCA        hearing loss through self help,
Fax: 202-347-2417                                 will assist in mediating complaints .    advocacy and education . It offers
E-mail: info@familiesusa .org                     There are more than 100 local            publications on: hearing aids,                               affiliates around the country,           cochlear implants, assistive listening
A national, nonprofit membership                  many of which work for better            devices, Americans with Disabilities
organization committed to                         legislation, conduct funeral price       Act, employment, travel, lip-reading,
comprehensive reform of health and                surveys, and counsel members and         education, parenting, medical
long-term care, Families USA works                the general public .                     research, psychological stress and
to educate and mobilize consumers                                                          telephone and television strategies .
                                                  HALT: An Organization of
on healthcare issues . Families USA                                                        Hearing Loss Association of
                                                  Americans for Legal Reform
develops and distributes reports and                                                       America holds annual conventions,
                                                  1612 K St . NW, Suite 510
other materials on health and long-                                                        fundraising walks, and publishes
                                                  Washington, DC 20006
term care issues .                                                                         Hearing Loss Magazine.
The Federation of American                        Toll free: 1-888-367-4258                Jump$tart Coalition for
Consumers and Travelers                           Fax: 202-887-9699                        Personal Financial Literacy
(FACT)                                            E-mail: halt@halt .org                   Washington, DC 20006
318 Hillsboro Ave .                                                  202-466-8604
PO Box 104                                        HALT’s mission is to enable              Toll free: 1-888-453-3822
Edwardsville, IL 62025                            Americans to handle their legal          Fax: 202-223-0321
Toll free: 1-800-872-3228                         affairs affordably, equitably, and       E-mail: info@jumpstartcoalition .org
Toll free: 1-877-444-3228                         simply . HALT publishes a series of
Fax: 618-656-5369                                 self-help legal manuals, operates        The Coalition’s direct objective is to
E-mail: cservice@usafact .org                     a legal information clearinghouse,       encourage curriculum enrichment                                   and advocates for legal reforms          to ensure that basic personal
FACT is a national not-for-profit                 which will benefit consumers .           financial management skills are
consumer group that provides                                                               attained during the K-16 educational
                                                  Health Research Group (HRG)
help to individuals and small                                                              experience .
                                                  1600 20th St ., NW
associations . FACT provides non-                 Washington, DC 20009
biased and non-partisan weekly                    202-588-1000
Eye-on-Washington Reports direct                  E-mail: pcmail@citizen .org

           Provided financial support for the publication
127        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                  naTional consumer agencies

National Association                                National Consumer Law Center              food and drug safety, fair labor
of Consumer Agency                                  (NCLC)                                    standards, child labor, healthcare,
Administrators (NACAA)                              Seven Winthrop Square, 4th Floor          e-commerce, financial services and
Two Brentwood Commons, Suite 150                    Boston, MA 02111-1245                     telecommunications . The league
750 Old Hickory Blvd .                              617-542-8010                              promotes consumer education
Brentwood, TN 37027                                 Fax: 617-542-8028                         through outreach to high school
615-371-6125                                        E-mail: consumerlaw@nclc .org             students and provides information
Toll free: 1-866-729-6222                                        to consumers through publications,
Fax: 615-369-6225                                   NCLC is an advocacy and research          media outreach and multiple
E-mail: nacaa@nacaa .net                            organization focusing on the              websites .                                       needs of low-income and elderly
                                                                                              National Council on the
An association of the administrators                consumers . Limited resources
                                                                                              Aging (NCOA)

of local, state, and Federal                        prevent the organization from
                                                                                              Washington, DC 20036
Government consumer protection                      responding to individual inquiries .
agencies, NACAA provides training                   The Center publishes Surviving
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-424-9046
programs, public policy studies                     Debt: A Guide for Consumers. NCLC
                                                                                              TTY: 202-479-6674
and conferences, professional                       Reports, a newsletter on consumer
                                                                                              Fax: 202-479-0735

publications, and other member                      law developments that is published
                                                                                              E-mail: info@ncoa .org
services .                                          24 times a year .
National Coalition for                              The National Consumer                     NCOA is the nation’s first association

                                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
Consumer Education                                  Protection Technical                      of organizations and professionals
1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200                         Resource Center                           dedicated to promoting the dignity,
Washington, DC 20006                                1155 21st St . NW, Suite 202              self-determination, well being, and
202-835-3323                                        Washington, DC 20036                      contributions of older persons .
Fax: 202-835-0747                                   Toll free: 1-877-808-2468
                                                                                              National Fraud Information                                      Fax: 202-331-9334
                                                                                              Center/Internet Fraud Watch
NCCE is a coalition coordinated by                  E-mail: info@smpresource .org
                                                                                              1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200
the National Consumers League . It        

                                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
                                                                                              Washington, DC 20006
develops and provides educational                   The Center is funded by the U .S .
                                                                                              Fax: 202-835-0747
materials and resources to consumer                 Administration on Aging to support
educators through a network of                      community based Senior Medicare
                                                                                              NFC/IFW assists consumers with
state coordinators . The coalition                  Patrol Programs (SMP) . The
                                                                                              recognizing and filing complaints
sponsors LifeSmarts, a game-show                    SMP projects utilize the skills and
                                                                                              about telemarketing and Internet
competition open to all teens in the                expertise of retired professionals to
                                                                                              fraud . A project of the National
9th through 12th grade .                            educate and empower communities

                                                                                                                                        National Consumer
                                                                                              Consumers League, the hotline
                                                    to take an active role in the detection
National Community                                                                            provides consumers with information
                                                    and prevention of healthcare fraud
Reinvestment Coalition                                                                        to help them avoid becoming
                                                    and abuse, with a focus on the
(NCRC)                                                                                        victims of fraud and in reporting
                                                    Medicare and Medicaid programs .
727 15th St ., NW, Suite 900                                                                  telemarketing and Internet fraud to
Washington, DC 20005-2112                           National Consumers League                 law enforcement . Spanish-speaking
202-628-8866                                        1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200               counselors are available .
Fax: 202-628-9800                                   Washington, DC 20006
                                                                                                                                        State & Local
                                                                                              Public Citizen, Inc.
E-mail: member@ncrc .org                            202-835-3323
                                                                                              1600 20th St ., NW                                        Fax: 202-835-0747
                                                                                              Washington, DC 20009
NCRC was founded in 1990 with             
the goal of ending discriminatory                   Founded in 1899, the mission of the
                                                                                              E-mail: pcmail@citizen .org
banking practices and increasing                    NCL is to protect and promote social
                                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional

the flow of private capital and credit              and economic justice for consumers
                                                                                              A national, nonprofit membership
into underserved communities                        and workers . The league is a
                                                                                              organization representing consumer
across the country .                                nonprofit membership organization
                                                                                              interests through lobbying, litigation,
                                                    working for health, safety, and
                                                                                              research, and publications, Public
                                                    fairness in the marketplace and
                                                                                              Citizen represents consumer
                                                    workplace . Current principal issue
                                                                                              interests in the areas of product
                                                    areas include consumer fraud,

   Provided financial support for the publication
   of the Consumer Action Handbook.                                                                                               128
naTional consumer organizaTions

liability, healthcare delivery, safe             U.S. Public Interest Research
medical devices and medications,                 Group (U.S. PIRG)
open and ethical government, and                 218 D St ., SE,
safe and sustainable energy use .                First Floor
                                                 Washington, DC 20003-1900
Society of Consumer Affairs
Professionals in Business
                                                 Fax: 202-546-2461
                                                 E-mail: uspirg@pirg .org
675 North Washington St ., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
                                                 U .S . PIRG is the national lobbying
                                                 office for the state public interest
Fax: 703-549-4886
                                                 research groups . The PIRGs are
E-mail: socap@socap .org
                                                 consumer and environmental
                                                 advocacy groups that address
SOCAP provides training,
                                                 issues such as, bank fees, identity
conferences and publications to
                                                 theft, credit bureau abuses, clean
encourage and promote effective
                                                 air and clean water, right to know,
communication and understanding
                                                 campaign finance reform, and
among business, government
                                                 various other issues . U .S . PIRG
and consumers; and to define
                                                 does not handle individual
and advance the consumer affairs
                                                 consumer complaints directly but
profession .
                                                 measures complaint levels to gauge
                                                 the need for remedial legislation .

           Provided financial support for the publication
129        of the Consumer Action Handbook.
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

  City, county and state consumer offices offer a variety of important services. They might mediate
  complaints, conduct investigations, prosecute offenders of consumer laws, license and regulate
  professionals, provide educational materials and advocate in the consumer interest.
  An advantage of contacting a city or county government office is that they are familiar with local businesses
  and local ordinances. If there is not a consumer office in your local area, contact your state consumer
  office. State offices are familiar with state laws and look for statewide patterns of problems.
  To save time, call before sending a written complaint. Ask if the office handles the type of complaint you
  have and if complaint	forms	are	provided.	Many	offices	distribute	consumer	materials	specifically	geared	
  to state laws and local issues. Ask if any information is available on your problem.
  This list is arranged in alphabetical order by state name.

Alabama                                Consumer Protection                    Gila County Attorney’s Office
                                       Office of the Attorney General         1400 East Ash St .
State Offices                          400 West Congress South Bldg .,        Globe, AZ 85501
Consumer Affairs Section               Suite 315                              928-425-3231, ext . 8630
Office of the Attorney General         Tucson, AZ 85701                       Fax: 928-425-3720
11 South Union St .                    520-628-6504                 
Montgomery, AL 36130                   Toll free: 1-800-352-8431 (AZ)
                                       Fax: 520-628-6530                      Navajo County Attorney’s Office
334-242-7335                                                                  PO Box 668
Toll free: 1-800-392-5658 (AL)         E-mail: consumerinfo@azag .gov
                                                        Holbrook, AZ 86025
Fax: 334-242-2433                                                             928-524-4026                    County Offices                         Fax: 928-524-4244
Alaska                                 Greenlee County Attorney’s
                                       Office                                 Mohave	County	Attorney’s	Office
State Offices                          PO Box 1717                            PO Box 7000
Consumer Protection Unit               Clifton, AZ 85533                      315 North Fourth St . (Zip: 86401)
Office of the Attorney General         928-865-4108                           Kingman, AZ 86402-7000
1031 West 4th Ave ., Suite 200         Fax: 928-865-4665                      928-753-0719
Anchorage, AK 99501-5903                                Fax: 928-753-2669
                                       Coconino County Attorney’s             attorney/attorney_default.asp
Toll free: 1-888-576-2529              Office
Fax: 907-276-8554                      110 East Cherry Ave .                  Santa Cruz County Attorney’s                    Flagstaff, AZ 86001                    Office
                                       928-779-6518                           2150 North Congress Dr ., Ste 201
Arizona                                Toll free: 1-800-559-9289              Nogales, AZ 85621
State Offices                          Fax: 928-679-8201                      520-375-7780
                                         Fax: 520-375-7793
Consumer Protection and                                             
Advocacy Section                       Pinal County Attorney’s Office         attorney/
Office of the Attorney General         PO Box 887
1275 West Washington St .              Florence, AZ 85232                     La Paz County Attorney’s Office
Phoenix, AZ 85007                      520-866-6271                           1320 Kofa Ave .
602-542-5025                           Toll free: 1-800-208-6897              Parker, AZ 85344
602-542-5763 (Consumer                 Fax: 520-866-6423                      928-669-6118
  Information and Complaints)          E-mail: pinalcountyattorney@           Fax: 928-669-2019
Toll free: 1-800-352-8431 (AZ)                  co .pinal .az .us   
Fax: 602-542-4085            
                                       Departments/Countyattorney/            Yavapai County Attorney’s Office                                                                  255 East Gurley
                                                                              Yavapai County Courthouse
                                                                              Prescott, AZ 86301
                                                                              Fax: 928-771-3110
                         sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Graham County Attorney’s Office     Office of the Attorney General              Contra Costa County District
800 West Main                       PO Box 944255                               Attorney’s Office
Graham County Courthouse            Public Inquiry Unit                         900 Ward Street, 4th Floor
Safford, AZ 85546                   Sacramento, CA 94244-2550                   Martinez, CA 94553
928-428-3620                        916-322-3360                                925-957-8604
Fax: 928-428-7200                   Toll free: 1-800-952-5225 (CA)              Fax: 925-646-4683                        TTY: 916-324-5564                 
Apache County Attorney’s Office     Fax: 916-323-5341                           Consumer Fraud Unit
PO Box 637                          E-mail: piu@doj .ca .gov                    Stanislaus County District
St . Johns, AZ 85936                                                            Attorney’s Office
928-337-7560                        California Department of                    832 12th Street, 3rd Floor
Fax: 928-337-2427                                                               Modesto, CA 95354

                                    Consumer Affairs                        1625 North Market Blvd .                    209-525-5550
                                    Sacramento, CA 95834                        Fax: 209-525-5545
Yuma County Attorney’s Office                                         
250 West Second St ., Suite G       Toll free: 1-800-952-5210 (CA)
Yuma, AZ 85364                      TTY: 916-322-1700                           Consumer Affairs Division

                                    E-mail: dca@dca .ca .gov                    Napa County District
Fax: 928-817-4301                                                               Attorney’s Office             County Offices                              PO Box 720

                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
                                                                                931 Parkway Mall
Arkansas                            Consumer and Environmental                  Napa, CA 94559
                                    Protection Unit                             707-253-4211
State Offices                       Solano County Distict Attorney’s            707-253-4059 (Hotline)
                                    Office                                      Fax: 707-253-4041
Consumer Protection Division
                                    675 Texas Street, Suite 4500      
Office of the Attorney General
                                    Fairfield, CA 94533
323 Center St ., Suite 200                                                      Consumer & Environmental Unit
Little Rock, AR 72201

                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
                                    Fax: 707-784-7986                           San Mateo County District
501-682-2007                                                                    Attorney’s Office
501-682-2341 (Consumer Hotline)                                                 400 County Center, 3rd Floor
Toll free: 1-800-482-8982           Consumer & Environmental                    Redwood City, CA 94063
  (Consumer Hotline)                Protection Division                         650-363-4651 (Consumer
Toll free: 1-800-448-3014           Fresno County District Attorney’s            Complaint Line)
  (Crime Victims Hotline)           Office                                      650-363-4636
Toll free: 1-888-382-1222           1250 Van Ness Ave ., 2nd Floor              Fax: 650-363-4873

                                                                                                                       National Consumer
  (Do Not Call Program)             Fresno, CA 93721
TTY: 501-682-6073                   559-488-3156                                Consumer Protection Division
Fax: 501-682-8118                   559-488-3836                                Monterey County District Attorney’s
  (Consumer Division)               Fax: 559-488-1852                           Office
E-mail: oag@arkansasag .gov                         PO Box 1131                                                              Salinas, CA 93902
                                    Los Angeles County Department               831-755-5070
                                                                                                                       State & Local
California                          of Consumer Affairs                         Fax: 831-755-5068
                                    500 West Temple St ., Room B-96   
State Offices                       Los Angeles, CA 90012-2706
                                    213-974-1452                                San Diego County District
Bureau of Automotive Repair                                                     Attorney’s Office
                                    Toll free: 1-800-593-8222 (L .A . County)
California Department of Consumer                                               330 W . Broadway, Suite 750
                                    TTY: 213-626-0913
                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional

Affairs                                                                         San Diego, CA 92101
                                    Fax: 213-687-0233
10240 Systems Pkwy .                                                            619-531-4070
                                    E-mail: dca@dca .lacounty .gov
Sacramento, CA 95827                                                            Fax: 619-531-4481
Toll free: 1-800-952-5210 (CA)                                        
TTY: 916-322-1700
Fax: 916-255-1369

sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Consumer and Environmental              Division of Consumer Affairs          Colorado
Protection Unit                         Santa Cruz County District
San Francisco County District           Attorney’s Office                     State Offices
Attorney’s Office                       701 Ocean St ., Room 200              Consumer Protection Division
732 Brannan St .                        Santa Cruz, CA 95060                  Colorado Attorney General’s Office
San Francisco, CA 94103                 831-454-2050                          1525 Sherman St ., 7th Floor
415-551-9595 (Hotline)                  TTY: 831-454-2123                     Denver, CO 80203-1760
Fax: 415-551-9504                       Fax: 831-454-2694                     303-866-5079                   Toll free: 1-800-222-4444
Consumer Protection Unit                Consumer	Mediation	Section            Fax: 303-866-4916
Santa Clara County District             Ventura County District Attorney’s    AARP ElderWatch
Attorney’s Office                       Office                                A program with the Colorado
West Wing, 4th Floor                    800 South Victoria Ave .              Attorney General and the AARP
70 West Hedding St .                    Ventura, CA 93009                     Foundation that is fighting elder
San Jose, CA 95110                      805-654-3110                          financial abuse and fraud through
408-792-2880                            Fax: 805-648-9255                     information, education, referrals and
408-299-7400                                    consumer advocacy .
Fax: 408-279-8742                                                             1301 Pennsylvania, #280
E-mail: webmaster@                      City Offices
                                                                              Denver, CO 80203
        da .co .santa-clara .ca .us     Criminal Division                     303-222-4444, option 2                   Kern County District Attorney’s       Toll free: 1-800-222-4444, option 2
Economic Crime Unit                     Office                                Fax: 303-831-6217
Consumer Fraud Department               1215 Truxtun Ave ., 4th Floor         E-mail: aarpelderwatch@aarp .org
1050 Monterey St ., Room 223            Bakersfield, CA 93301       
County Government Center                661-868-2340
                                        Fax: 661-868-2700                     County Offices
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
805-781-5856                            E-mail: dacriminal@co .kern .ca .us   Economic Crime Division
Fax: 805-781-1173                  El Paso and Teller Counties District                Los Angeles City Attorney’s           Attorney’s Office
                                        Office                                105 East Vermijo, Suite 300
Consumer Protection Unit                                                      Colorado Springs, CO 80903-2083
Marin County District Attorney’s        200 North Main St .
                                        800 City Hall East                    719-520-6002
Office                                                                        Fax: 719-520-6164
Hall of Justice, Room 130               Los Angeles, CA 90012
San Rafael, CA 94903
415-499-6495                            Fax: 213-978-8312                     Economic Crime Unit
Fax: 415-499-3719                                Denver District Attorney’s Office
E-mail: consumer@co .marin .ca .us/da   Consumer and Environmental            201 West Colfax Ave ., Dept 801                      Protection Unit                       Denver, CO 80202
                                        1200 Third Ave ., Suite 700           720-913-9179
Consumer/Environmental                                                        Fax: 720-913-9177
Protection Unit                         San Diego, CA 92101-4106
Orange County District Attorney’s
Office                                  Fax: 619-533-5504                     Weld County District Attorney’s
401 Civic Center Dr . W .               E-mail: cepu@sandiego .gov            Office
Santa Ana, CA 92701                    915 Tenth Street, PO Box 1167
714-648-3600                            Consumer Protection, Fair             Greeley, CO 80632
Fax: 714-648-3636                       Housing & Public Rights Division      970-356-4010                      Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office   Fax: 970-352-8023
                                        1685 Main St ., Room 310    
Consumer Protection Unit
Santa Barbara County District           Santa Monica, CA 90401                Pueblo County District
Attorney’s Office                       310-458-8336
1112 Santa Barbara St .                 Fax: 310-395-6727
Santa Barbara, CA 93101                 E-mail: consumer@smgov .net
Fax: 805-568-2453
                         sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Attorney’s Office                  District of Columbia                  Multi-State	Litigation	and	
701 Court                                                                Intergovernmental Affairs
Pueblo, CO 81003                   District of Columbia only             Office of the Attorney General
719-583-6000                       Offices                               PL-01 The Capitol
Fax: 719-583-6666                  Office of Consumer Protection         Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050      Office of the Attorney General for    850-414-3300
attorney/                          the District of Columbia              Toll free: 1-866-966-7226 (FL)
                                   941 N . Capitol Street NE             TTY: 1-800-955-8771 (Toll free)
Connecticut                        Washington, DC 20002                  Fax: 850-410-1630
State Offices
                                   Fax: 202-478-9296                     Regional Offices
Department of Consumer   

Protection                                                               Economic Crimes Division
165 Capitol Ave .                  District of Columbia Offices          Office of the Attorney General
Hartford, CT 06106                 Department of Consumer and            110 SE 6th St .
860-713-6050                       Regulatory Affairs                    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-5000
Fax: 860-713-7243                  Government of the District of         954-712-4600

                                                                                                                     BBB                     Columbia                              Fax: 954-712-4658
                                   941 North Capitol St ., NE  
City Offices
                                   Washington, DC 20002

                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
                                                                         Economic Crimes Unit
Director of Consumer Protection    202-442-4400                          Office of the Attorney General
City of Middletown                 202-727-1000 (Citywide Call Center)   1300 Riverplace Blvd ., Ste . 405
PO Box 1300                        Fax: 202-442-9445                     Jacksonville, FL 32207
245 deKoven Dr .                   E-mail: dcra@dc .gov                  904-348-2720
Middletown, CT 06457-1300                       Fax: 904-858-6918
TTY: 860-344-3521                  Office of Consumer Protection         Economic Crimes Division
Fax: 860-344-3561                  Department of Consumer &              Office of the Attorney General

                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
E-mail: phil .cacciola@            Regulatory Affairs                    135 West Central Blvd ., Suite 1000
        cityofmiddletown .com      941 N Capitol Street NE               Orlando, FL 32801           Washington, DC 20002                  407-999-5588
                                   202-442-4400                          Fax: 407-245-0365
Delaware                           202-442-4615                
                                   Fax: 202-478-9296
State Offices                                   Economic Crimes Division

                                                                                                                     National Consumer
                                                                         Office of the Attorney General
Fraud and Consumer Protection      Florida                               3507 East Frontage Rd ., Suite 325
Division                                                                 Concourse Center 4
Office of the Attorney General     State Offices                         Tampa, FL 33607-1795
820 North French St .                                                    813-287-7950
Carvel State Office Building       Economic Crimes Division
                                   Office of the Attorney General        Fax: 813-281-5515
Wilmington, DE 19801                                           
302-577-8600                       PL-01 The Capitol
                                                                                                                     State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-220-5424          Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050            Economic Crimes Division
Fax: 302-577-6499                  850-414-3600                          Office of the Attorney General
E-mail: consumer .protection@      Toll free: 1-866-966-7226 (FL)        1515 North Flagler Dr ., Suite 900
         state .de .us             TTY: 1-800-955-8771 (Toll free)       West Palm Beach, FL 33401   Fax: 850-488-4483                     561-837-5000
                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional

                                         Fax: 561-837-5109
                                   Florida Dept. of Agriculture and
                                   Consumer Services
                                   Division of Consumer Services
                                   2005 Apalachee Pkwy .
                                   Tallahassee, FL 32301

                                   Toll free: 1-800-435-7352 (FL)
                                   Fax: 850-410-3839
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

County Offices                          Hillsborough County Consumer         Office of Consumer Protection
                                        Protection Agency                    Dept of Commerce and Consumer
Pinellas County Office of               8900 North Armenia Ave ., Ste 226    Affairs
Consumer Protection                     Tampa, FL 33604-1072                 1063 Lower Main St ., Ste C-216
15251 Roosevelt Blvd ., Suite 209       813-903-3430                         Wailuku, HI 96793
Clearwater, FL 33760                    Fax: 813-903-3432                    808-984-8244
727-464-6200                            Fax: 808-243-5807
TTY: 727-464-6088                       consumerprotection         
Fax: 727-464-6129
E-mail: consumer@co .pinellas .fl .us   Palm Beach County Division of        Idaho         Consumer Affairs
                                        50 South Military Trail              State Offices
Broward County Consumer                 West Palm Beach, FL 33415
Affairs Division                        561-712-6600                         Consumer Protection Division
115 South Andrews Ave ., A460           Toll free: 1-800-852-7362            Idaho Attorney General’s Office
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301               Fax: 561-712-6610                    650 West State St .
954-357-5350                                Boise, ID 83720-0010
Fax: 954-765-5309                                                            208-334-2424
E-mail: consumer@broward .org           Georgia                              Toll free: 1-800-432-3545 (ID)                                                     Fax: 208-334-4151
                                        State Offices              
Miami-Dade	County	Consumer	
Services Department                     Governor’s Office of Consumer        Illinois
140 West Flagler St ., Suites 901-904   Affairs
Miami, FL 33130                         Two Martin Luther King, Jr . Dr .,   State Offices
305-375-1250                            Suite 356
E-mail: consumer@miamidade .gov         Atlanta, GA 30334                    Consumer Fraud Bureau                   404-656-3790                         1001 East Main St .
                                        Toll free: 1-800-869-1123            Carbondale, IL 62901
Office of the State Attorney for         (GA and Outside Atlanta)            618-529-6400
Miami-Dade	County                       Fax: 404-651-9018                    Toll free: 1-800-243-0607 (Hotline)
Economic Crime Division                        TTY: Toll free 1-877-785-9339 (IL)
1350 NW 12th Ave .                                                           Fax: 618-529-6416
Miami, FL 33136-2111                    Hawaii                               E-mail: ag_consumer@atg .state .il .us
Fax: 305-547-0717                       State Offices                                                             Consumer Fraud Bureau
                                        Office of Consumer Protection        100 West Randolph, 12th Floor
Pasco County Consumer Affairs           Department of Commerce and           Chicago, IL 60601
Division                                Consumer Affairs                     312-814-3000
7530 Little Rd ., Suite 140             345 Kekuanaoa St ., Room 12          Toll free: 1-800-386-5438 (IL)
New Port Richey, FL 34654               Hilo, HI 96720                       TTY: 312-814-3374
727-847-8106                            808-933-0910                         Fax: 312-814-2549
727-847-8110 (Info . Code Compliance)   Fax: 808-933-8845                    E-mail: ag_consumer@atg .state .il .us
Fax: 727-847-8191                     
E-mail: drjones@pascocountyfl .net                   Office of Consumer Protection        Governor’s Office of Citizens
                                        Department of Commerce and           Action
Orange County Consumer                  Consumer Affairs                     222 South College, Room 106
Fraud Unit                              235 South Beretania St ., Room 801   Springfield, IL 62706
PO Box 1673                             Honolulu, HI 96813-2419              217-782-0244
415 North Orange Ave .                  808-586-2636                         Toll free: 1-800-642-3112 (IL)
Orlando, FL 32802                       Fax: 808-586-2640                    Fax: 217-524-4049
407-836-2490                                E-mail: governor@illinois .gov
Fax: 407-836-1210                                                  
E-mail: fraudhelp@sao9 .org

                            sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

County Offices                           Indiana                               County Offices
Consumer Fraud Division                  State Offices                         Consumer Protection Division
Cook County State Attorney’s Office                                            Johnson County District
69 West Washington, Suite 3130           Consumer Protection Division          Attorney’s Office
Chicago, IL 60602                        Office of the Attorney General        100 North Kansas Ave .
312-603-8600                             302 West Washington St .              Johnson County Courthouse
312-603-8700 (Consumer Line)             Indiana Government Center South       Olathe, KS 66061
Fax: 312-603-9830                        Indianapolis, IN 46204                913-715-3003
E-mail: consumer@                        317-232-6330                          Fax: 913-715-3040
        cookcountygov .com               Toll free: 1-800-382-5516              (Consumer Hotline)
fraud.htm                                Fax: 317-232-4393                     Consumer Fraud & Economic

                                              Crime Division
Consumer Fraud Bureau                                                          Office of the District Attorney
Office of the Attorney General           County Offices                        535 North Main St ., 1st Floor
500 South Second St .                    Marion	County	Prosecuting	            Wichita, KS 67203-3747
Springfield, IL 62706                                                          316-660-3600

                                         Attorney’s Office
217-782-1090                             251 E Ohio St ., Suite 160            Toll free: 1-800-432-6878 (KS)
Toll free: 1-800-243-0618 (IL)           Indianapolis, IN 46204                Fax: 316-383-4638
TTY: 217-785-2771 or                     317-327-3522                          E-mail: consumer@sedgwick .gov

                                                                                                                             Corporate Contacts
  Toll Free 1-877-844-5461(IL)           Fax: 317-327-5409           
Fax: 217-782-1097              
E-mail: ag_consumer@atg .state .il .us                                         Kentucky          Iowa                                  State Offices
City Offices                             State Offices                         Office of Consumer Protection
Chicago Department of                    Consumer Protection Division          Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Services                                                              1024 Capital Center Dr ., Suite 200

                                                                                                                             Federal Agencies
                                         Office of the Iowa Attorney General
Richard J . Daley Center                 Hoover Building                       Frankfort, KY 40601
50 West Washington, Room 208             1305 East Walnut St ., 2nd Floor      502-696-5389
Chicago, IL 60602                        Des Moines, IA 50319                  Toll free: 1-888-432-9257 (KY)
312-744-4006                             515-281-5926                          Fax: 502-573-8317
TTY: 312-744-9385                        Toll free: 1-888-777-4590 (IA)        E-mail: attorney .general@ag .ky .gov
Fax: 312-742-8700                        Fax: 515-281-6771                              E-mail: consumer@iowa .gov

                                                                                                                             National Consumer
ConsumerServices                                                               Kentucky Office of the
                                          Attorney General
City of Des Plaines Consumer                                                   Consumer Protection Division
Protection Office                        Kansas                                8911 Shelbyville Road
1420 Miner St ., 6th Floor               State Offices                         Frankfort, KY 40601
Des Plaines, IL 60016                                                          1024 Capital Center Drive
847-391-5488                             Consumer Protection &                 Louisville, KY 40222
Fax: 847-391-5378                        Antitrust Division
                                                                                                                             State & Local
E-mail: consumerprotection@              Office of the Attorney General        502-429-7134 (Jefferson County)
        desplaines .org                  120 SW 10th, 2nd Floor                Toll free: 888-432-9257                       Topeka, KS 66612-1597                 Fax: 502-429-7129
                                         785-296-3751                          E-mail: decker@ag .ky .gov
                                         Toll free: 1-800-432-2310 (KS)
                                                                                                                             Trade & Professional

                                         TTY: 785-291-3767
                                         Fax: 785-291-3699
                                         E-mail: cprotect@ksag .org

sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Louisiana                         Maryland                               Montgomery	County	Office	of	
                                                                         Consumer Protection
State Offices                     State Offices                          100 Maryland Ave ., Suite 330
Consumer Protection Section       Consumer Protection Division           Rockville, MD 20850
Office of the Attorney General    Office of the Attorney General         240-777-3636
PO Box 94005                      200 Saint Paul Place, 16th Floor       TTY: 240-777-3679
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9005        Baltimore, MD 21202-2021               Fax: 240-777-3768
225-326-6400                      410-528-8662 (Consumer Complaints)
Toll free: 1-800-351-4889         410-576-6550 (Consumer Information)    consumer
Fax: 225-326-6499                 410-528-1840 (Health Advocacy Unit)                Toll free: 1-888-743-0023              Massachusetts
                                  Toll free: 1-877-261-8807              State Offices
County Offices                      (Health Advocacy Unit)
Jefferson Parish District         TTY: 410-576-6372 (MD)                 Consumer Protection and
Attorney’s Office                 Fax: 410-576-7040                      Antitrust Division
Economic Crime Unit               E-mail: consumer@oag .state .md .us    Office of the Attorney General
200 Derbigny St .                  One Ashburton Place
Gretna, LA 70053-5894                                                    Boston, MA 02108
                                  Regional Offices                       617-727-8400 (Consumer Hotline)
Fax: 504-361-2996                 Consumer Protection Division           TTY: 617-727-4765
                                  Maryland Attorney Generals’ Office     Fax: 617-727-3265
Maine                             44 North Potomac Street, Suite 104
                                  Hagerstown, MD 21740-5684              Executive Office of Consumer
State Offices                     301-791-4780                           Affairs and Business Regulation
Consumer Protection Division      TTY: 410-576-6372 (Baltimore office)   Ten Park Plaza, Suite 5170
Office of the Attorney General    Fax: 301-791-7178                      Boston, MA 02116
Six State House Station            617-973-8700 (General Information)
Augusta, ME 04333                 Consumer Protection Division           617-973-8787 (Consumer Hotline)
207-626-8800                      Eastern Shore Branch Office            Toll free: 1-888-283-3757 (MA)
Toll free: 1-800-436-2131         Office of the Attorney General         TTY: 617-973-8790
  (Consumer Protection)           201 Baptist St ., Suite 30             Fax: 617-973-8798
Fax: 207-626-8812                 Salisbury, MD 21801-4976               E-mail: consumer@state .ma .us
E-mail: consumer .mediation@      410-713-3620                 
         maine .gov               410-576-6300 (Baltimore office)                                                         Southern	Massachusetts	Division
                                  Toll free: 1-888-743-0023              Office of the Attorney General
Bureau of Consumer Credit           (Baltimore office)                   105 William St .
Protection                        TTY: 410-576-6372                      New Bedford, MA 02740
35 State House Station            Fax: 410-713-3621                      508-990-9700
Augusta, ME 04333-0035                      Fax: 508-990-8686
207-624-8527                      County Offices               
Toll free: 1-800-332-8529 (ME)
TTY: 1-888-577-6690 (Toll free)   Howard County Office of                Western	Massachusetts	Division
Fax: 207-582-7699                 Consumer Affairs                       Office of the Attorney General              6751 Columbia Gateway Dr .             1350 Main St ., 4th Floor
                                  Columbia, MD 21046                     Springfield, MA 01103-1629
                                  410-313-6420                           413-784-1240
                                  Fax: 410-313-6453                      TTY: 617-727-4765 (Boston office)
                                  E-mail: rgbowman@                      Fax: 413-784-1244
                                          howardcountymd .gov  

                             sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Central	Massachusetts	Division       City Offices                         Consumer Protection Program
Office of the Attorney General                                            Greater Lawrence Community
One Exchange Place                   Mass	PIRG	Consumer	                  Action Council, Inc .
Worcester, MA 01608                  Action Center                        305 Essex St .
508-792-7600                         44 Winter St ., 4th Floor            Lawrence, MA 01840
617-727-8400                         Boston, MA 02108                     978-681-4990
Fax: 508-795-1991                    781-335-0280                         Fax: 978-681-4949                     Fax: 781-340-3991
                                                Middlesex	Community	College	
County Offices                                                            Law Center
                                     City of Boston Consumer              33 Kearney Square
Norfolk District Attorney’s Office   Affairs & Licensing                  Lowell, MA 01852-1987
Consumer Protection Division         One City Hall Plaza,                 978-656-3342

45 Shawmut Rd .                      Room 817                             Fax: 978-441-1794
Canton, MA 02021                     Boston, MA 02201                     E-mail: lawcenter@
781-830-4800                         617-635-3834                                 middlesex .mass .edu
Fax: 781-830-4801                    Fax: 617-635-4174                        E-mail: MOCAL@cityofboston .gov

Franklin County                      consumeraffairs                      Medford	Consumer	Advisory	
Northwestern District                                                     Commission

                                                                                                                 Corporate Contacts
Attorney’s Office                    Cambridge Consumers’ Council         90 Main St .
13 Conway St .                       831 Massachusetts Ave .              Medford, MA 02155
Greenfield, MA 01301                 Cambridge, MA 02139                  781-393-2460
413-774-3186                         617-349-6150               
Fax: 413-773-3278                    TTY: 617-349-6112
E-mail: Janice .Garrett@             Fax: 617-349-6148                    Consumer Assistance Office –
        Massmail .state .ma .us      E-mail: Consumer@                    Metro	West,	Inc.
                                             CambridgeMA .gov             209 West Central St .
Hampshire County

                                                                                                                 Federal Agencies
                                         Natick, MA 01760
North Western District               Consumer                             508-651-8812
Attorney’s Office                                                         Fax: 508-647-0661
One Gleason Plaza                    Greater Fall River/New Bedford       E-mail: consumermw@conversent .net
Northampton, MA 01060                residents contact:         
413-586-9225                         One Government Center
Fax: 413-584-3635                    Fall River, MA 02722                 Newton-Brookline Consumer
                                     508-324-2672                         Office

                                                                                                                 National Consumer
Berkshire County Consumer            Fax: 508-324-2626                    1000 Commonwealth Ave .
Advocates, Inc.                              Newton City Hall
150 North St ., Room 34                                                   Newton Centre, MA 02459
Pittsfield, MA 01201                 Consumer Protection Program          617-796-1292
413-443-9128                         Haverhill Community Action, Inc .    TTY: 617-796-1089
Toll free: 1-800-540-9128            145 Essex St .                       Fax: 617-796-1293
  (Berkshire County)                 Haverhill, MA 01832                  E-mail: consumer@newtonma .gov
Fax: 413-496-9225                    978-373-1971
                                                                                                                 State & Local
E-mail: berkshire .advocates@        Fax: 978-373-8966
         yahoo .com                          South Shore Community Action
                                                                          Council, Inc.
Consumer Council of                  Cape Cod residents contact:          265 South Meadow Rd .
Worcester County                     Consumer Assistance Council, Inc .   Plymouth, MA 02360
                                                                                                                 Trade & Professional

484 Main St ., 2nd Floor             149 Main St .                        508-747-7575, ext . 226
Worcester, MA 01608-1690             Hyannis, MA 02601                    Fax: 508-746-5140
508-754-1176                         508-771-0700                         E-mail: lmtilley@sscac .org
Toll free: 1-800-545-4577            Toll free: 1-800-867-0701 (MA)
Fax: 508-754-0203                    Fax: 508-771-3011                    Revere Consumer Affairs Office                         E-mail: cac@capecod .net             150 Beach St .
                                         Revere, MA 02151

                                                                          Fax: 781-485-2788
                                                                          E-mail: jellis@revere .org
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Mayor’s	Office	of	Consumer	             Minnesota                                 Bureau of Regulatory Services
Information                                                                       Department of Agriculture and
36 Court St .                           State Offices
City Hall                               Consumer Services Division                PO Box 1609
Springfield, MA 01103-1699              Attorney General’s Office                 121 North Jefferson St .
413-787-6437                            445 Minnesota St .                        Jackson, MS 39201
Fax: 413-787-7781                       1400 Bremer Tower                         601-359-1111
E-mail: moci@springfieldcityhall .com   St . Paul, MN 55101                       Fax: 601-359-1175             651-296-3353                    
                                        Toll free: 1-800-657-3787
Michigan                                TTY: 651-297-7206 or 1-800-366-4812       Missouri
State Offices                             (Toll free)
                                                                                  State Offices
                                        Fax: 651-282-2155
Office of Attorney General              E-mail: attorney .general@state .mn .us   Consumer Protection Division
Consumer Protection Division                          Missouri Attorney General’s Office
PO Box 30213                                                                      PO Box 899
Lansing, MI 48909                       County Offices
                                                                                  Jefferson City, MO 65102
517-373-1140                            Citizen Information Hotline               573-751-3321
Toll free: 1-877-765-8388               Hennepin County Attorney’s Office         Toll free: 1-800-392-8222 (MO)
Fax: 517-241-3771                       C-2000 County Government Center           TTY: 1-800-729-8668 (MO)                     Minneapolis, MN 55487                     Fax: 573-751-7948
County Offices                          612-348-5550                              E-mail: consumer@ago .mo .gov
                                        TTY: 612-348-6015               
Macomb	County	Consumer	                 Fax: 612-348-9712
Protection Department                   E-mail: citizeninfo@co .                  Montana
Office of the Prosecuting Attorney              hennepin .mn .us
One South Main St ., 3rd Floor
                                                                                  State Offices
Macomb County Administration Bldg .                                               Montana	Office	of	Consumer	
Mt . Clemens, MI 48043                  City Offices
586-469-5350                            Division of Licenses &                    Department of Justice
Fax: 586-469-5609                       Consumer Services                         PO Box 200151
City Offices                            Minneapolis Department of                 2225 11th Avenue
                                        Regulatory Services                       Helena, MT 59620-0151
Consumer Advocacy                       350 South 5th St .                        406-444-4500
18100 Meyers Rd ., Suite 105            City Hall, Room 1C                        Toll free: 1-800-481-6896
NWAC                                    Minneapolis, MN 55415                     Fax: 406-444-9680
Detroit, MI 48235                       612-673-2080                    
313-224-1000                            TTY: 612-673-2157
313-224-6995 (Complaints)               Fax: 612-673-3399                         Nebraska
Fax: 313-224-1476             
E-mail: andersonst .cadtwr@                                                       State Offices
        seniors .ci .detroit .mi .us    Mississippi                               Office of the Attorney General                                                 Department of Justice
ConsumerAffairs/tabid/1476/             State Offices
                                                                                  PO Box 98920
Default.aspx                            Consumer Protection Division              2115 State Capitol
                                        Attorney General’s Office                 Lincoln, NE 68509
                                        PO Box 22947                              402-471-2682
                                        Jackson, MS 39225-2947                    402-471-3891 (Spanish)
                                        601-359-4230                              Toll free: 1-800-727-6432 (NE)
                                        Toll free: 1-800-281-4418 (MS)            Toll free: 1-888-850-7555
                                        Fax: 601-359-4231                           (NE – Spanish)
                                                     Fax: 402-471-0006

                           sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Nevada                                 New Jersey                              Gloucester County Department of
                                                                               Consumer Protection
State Offices                          State Offices                           Weights and Measures
                                                                               254 County House Road
Bureau of Consumer Protection          Division of Consumer Affairs            Clarksboro, NJ 08020
Office of the Attorney General         Department of Law and                   856-384-6855
100 N Carson St .                      Public Safety                           TTY: 856-848-6616
Carson City, NV 89701                  PO Box 45027                            Fax: 856-384-6858
775-684-1180                           Newark, NJ 07101                        E-mail: hspence@co .gloucester .nj .us                     973-504-6200
                                       Toll free: 1-800-242-5846 (NJ)          Government/Departments/
Bureau of Consumer Protection          TTY: 973-504-6588
Attorney General’s Office                                                      ConsumerAffairs/main.cfm
                                       Fax: 973-648-3538

555 E . Washington Ave ., Suite 3900   E-mail: askconsumeraffairs@             Essex County Division of
Las Vegas, NV 89101                             lps .state .nj .us             CommunityAction/Consumer
702-486-3420                                Services
Fax: 702-486-3768                                                              50 South Clinton St ., Suite 3201                         County Offices

                                                                               East Orange, NJ 07018
Nevada Consumer Affairs                Atlantic County Division of             973-395-8350
Division                               Consumer Affairs                        Fax: 973-395-8433

                                                                                                                              Corporate Contacts
1850 East Sahara Ave ., Suite 101      1333 Atlantic Ave .           
Las Vegas, NV 89104                    Atlantic City, NJ 08401                 Hunterdon County Office of
702-486-7355                           609-343-2376
                                                                               Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-800-326-5202 (NV)         609-345-6700, ext . 2476
                                                                               PO Box 2900
TTY: 702-486-7901                      E-mail: howie_robert@aclink .org        Flemington, NJ 08822
Fax: 702-486-7371            
E-mail: NCAD@fyiconsumer .org          conshome.asp
                                                                               Fax: 908-806-2057
                                       Camden County Office of                 E-mail: jferrari@co .hunterdon .nj .us

                                                                                                                              Federal Agencies
Consumer Affairs Division              Consumer Protection/Weights   
4600 Kietzke Lane, Building B,         and	Measures                            consumeraffairs.htm
Suite 113                              512 Lakeland Rd ., Suite 158            Monmouth	County	Department	of	
Reno, NV 89502                         DiPiero Center                          Consumer Affairs
775-688-1800                           Blackwood, NJ 08012                     One East Main St .
Toll free: 1-800-326-5202 (NV)         856-374-6161 (Consumer Protection)
                                                                               Hall of Records Annex
TTY: 702-486-7901                      856-374-6001 (Weights & Measures)
                                                                               Freehold, NJ 07728

                                                                                                                              National Consumer
Fax: 775-688-1803                      Fax: 856-232-0748                       732-431-7900
E-mail: renocad@fyiconsumer .org
                                                                               Fax: 732-845-2037
                                       Cumberland County Department            E-mail: pwatson@co .monmouth .nj .us
                                       of Consumer Affairs/Weights   
New Hampshire
                                       and	Measures                            Bergen County Office of
State Offices                          788 East Commerce St .                  Consumer Protection
                                       Bridgeton, NJ 08302
                                                                                                                              State & Local
Consumer Protection Bureau                                                     One Bergen County Plaza, 3rd Floor
Attorney General’s Office                                                      Hackensack, NJ 07601-7000
                                       Fax: 856-453-2206                       201-336-6400
33 Capitol St .                        E-mail: janemc@co .cumberland .nj .us
Concord, NH 03301                                                              Fax: 201-336-6416
603-271-3641                                                                   Hudson County Division of
                                                                                                                              Trade & Professional

Toll free: 1-888-468-4454              Cape	May	County	Consumer	               Consumer Affairs
 (Consumer Protection Hotline)         Affairs	Weights	and	Measures            583 Newark Ave .
TTY: 1-800-735-2964                    4 Moore Rd . DN 310                     Jersey City, NJ 07306
 (New Hampshire Only)                  Cape May Court House, NJ 08210-1601     201-795-6295
Fax: 603-223-6202                      609-463-6475
                                                                               201-795-6163                Fax: 609-463-6472                       Fax: 201-795-6468
                                       E-mail: jrechner@co .cape-may .nj .us


sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Burlington County Office                 Passaic County Department of         Consumer Affairs Office
of Consumer Affairs/Weights              Consumer Protection/Weights          1976 Morris Ave .
and	Measures                             and	Measures                         Union, NJ 07083
PO Box 6000                              Dept . of Law                        908-851-5477
49 Rancocas Rd .                         1310 Route 23 North                  Fax: 908-851-4679
Mount Holly, NJ 08060                    Wayne, NJ 07470            
609-265-5098 (Weights & Measures)        973-305-5881 (Consumer Protection)
609-265-5054 (Consumer Affairs)          973-305-5750 (Weights & Measures)    Woodbridge Township
Fax: 609-265-5065                        Fax: 973-628-1796                    Consumer Affairs
E-mail: consumer@co .                    E-mail: barbaram@                    One Main St .
        burlington .nj .us                       passaiccountynj .org         Municipal Building                      Woodbridge, NJ 07095
Middlesex	County	Consumer	               Union County Division of             Fax: 732-602-6016
Affairs                                  Consumer Affairs           
JFK Square, 2nd Floor, Suite 290         300 North Ave . East
Middlesex County Administration          Westfield, NJ 07090                  New Mexico
Building                                 908-654-9840
New Brunswick, NJ 08901                  Fax: 908-654-3082                    State Offices
732-745-3875                             E-mail: fpeterson@ucnj .org          Consumer Protection Division
Fax: 732-745-3815                              408 Galisteo St .
E-mail: consumer@co .middlesex .nj .us                                        PO Drawer 1508                  City Offices
                                                                              Santa Fe, NM 87501
consumeraffairs/index.asp                Middlesex	Borough	Consumer	          505-827-6060
Somerset County Division of              Affairs                              Toll free: 1-800-678-1508
Consumer Protection                      1200 Mountain Ave .                  Fax: 505-827-6685
PO Box 3000                              Middlesex, NJ 08846        
20 Grove Street                          732-356-7400
                                         Fax: 732-356-7954                    New York
Somerville, NJ 08876-1262
                                                                              State Offices
Fax: 908-429-0670                        Nutley Consumer Affairs
E-mail: consumerprotection@              149 Chestnut St .                    New York State Consumer
        co .somerset .nj .us             Public Affairs Building              Protection Board                    Nutley, NJ 07110                     Five Empire State Plaza, Suite 2101
                                         973-284-4975                         Albany, NY 12223-1556
Ocean County Department                                                       518-474-8583 (Capitol Region)
of Consumer Affairs/Weights              Fax: 973-661-9411
                                         E-mail: anicolette@nutleynj .org     Toll free: 1-800-697-1220
and	Measures                                                                  Fax: 518-474-2474
PO Box 2191                    
                                                                              E-mail: webmaster@
1027 Hooper Ave .                        Plainfield Action Services                    consumer .state .ny .us
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191                510 Watchung Ave .         
732-929-2105                             City Hall Annex
Toll free: 1-800-722-0291, ext . 2105    Plainfield, NJ 07060                 Bureau of Consumer Frauds
(NJ)                                     908-753-3519                         and Protection
Fax: 732-506-5330                        Fax: 908-753-3540                    Office of the Attorney General                                State Capitol
                                                                              Albany, NY 12224
Mercer	County	Consumer	Affairs           Secaucus Department of               518-474-5481
PO Box 8068                              Consumer Affairs                     Toll free: 1-800-771-7755 (NY)
640 South Broad St ., Rm . 404           1203 Patterson Plank Rd .            TTY: 1-800-788-9898 (Toll free)
Trenton, NJ 08650-0068                   Municipal Government Center          Fax: 518-474-3618
609-989-6671                             Secaucus, NJ 07094         
Fax: 609-989-6670                        201-330-2008
E-mail: dgiovannetti@                    Fax: 201-330-8352
        mercercounty .org                           countyoff.htm

                             sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Consumer Frauds and                     Mineola	Regional	Office           Westchester Regional Office
Protection Bureau                       Office of the Attorney General    Office of the Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General          200 Old Country Rd .              101 East Post Rd .
120 Broadway, 3rd Fl .                  New York, NY 11501                White Plains, NY 10601-5008
New York, NY 10271                      516-248-3302                      914-422-8755
212-416-8300                            Toll free: 1-800-771-7755         Toll free: 1-800-771-7755
Toll free: 1-800-771-7755 (Hotline)       (Consumer Helpline)               (Consumer Helpline)
TTY: 1-800-788-9898 (Toll free) or      TTY: 1-800-788-9898               Fax: 914-422-8706
  212-416-8893                          Fax: 516-747-6432       
Fax: 212-416-6003                                                                    County Offices
                                        Plattsburgh Regional Office
Regional Offices                        Office of Attorney General        Department of Consumer Affairs/

                                        43 Durkee Street, Suite 700       Weights	&	Measures
Binghamton Regional Office              Plattsburgh, NY 12901             112 State St ., Room 720
Office of the Attorney General          518-562-3282                      Albany, NY 12207
44 Hawley St .                          Fax: 518-562-3294                 518-447-7581
State Office Building, 17th Floor                                         Fax: 518-487-5048

Binghamton, NY 13901-4433                                                 E-mail: consumer_complaints@
607-721-8771                            Rochester Regional Office                 albanycounty .com
Fax: 607-721-8789                       Office of the Attorney General

                                                                                                                 Corporate Contacts                     144 Exchange Blvd ., Suite 200
                                        Rochester, NY 14614               Consumer Fraud Bureau
Brooklyn Regional Office                585-546-7430                      Erie County District
Office of the Attorney General          TTY: 1-800-788-9898               Attorney’s Office
55 Hanson Place, Room 732               Fax: 585-546-7514                 350 Main Street, Suite 300A
Brooklyn, NY 11217                           Main PlaceTower
718-722-3949                                                              Buffalo, NY 14202
Toll free: 1-800-771-7755               Syracuse Regional Office          716-853-8404 (Consumer Fraud)

                                                                                                                 Federal Agencies
  (Consumer Helpline)                   Office of the Attorney General    716-853-8400
TTY: 1-800-788-9898 (Toll free)         615 Erie Blvd . West, Suite 102   Toll free: 1-800-771-7755 (NY)                     Syracuse, NY 13204-2465           Fax: 716-853-8414
                                        315-448-4848 (Consumer Fraud)
Buffalo Regional Office                 315-448-4800
Office of the Attorney General          Toll free: 1-800-771-7755         Putnam County Department
350 Main Street, Suite 300A               (Consumer Hotline)              of Consumer Affairs/Weights
Main Place Tower                        Fax: 315-448-4851                 and	Measures

                                                                                                                 National Consumer
Buffalo, NY 14202                            110 Old Route 6 – Bldg . 3
716-853-8400                                                              Carmel, NY 10512
Fax: 716-853-8571                       Utica Regional Office             845-225-2039                     Office of the Attorney General    Fax: 845-225-3403
                                        207 Genesee St ., Room 508
Hauppauge Regional Office               Utica, NY 13501
Office of the Attorney General          315-793-2225                      Orange County Department
300 Motor Pkwy ., Suite 205                                               of Consumer Affairs and
                                                                                                                 State & Local
                                        Toll free: 1-800-771-7755
Hauppauge, NY 11788-5127                Fax: 315-793-2228                 Weights	and	Measures
631-231-2400                     99 Main St .   html                              Goshen, NY 10924
Harlem Regional Office                  Watertown Regional Office         Fax: 845-291-2385
                                                                                                                 Trade & Professional

Office of the Attorney General          Office of the Attorney General
163 West 125th St .                     317 Washington Street
New York, NY 10027-8201                 Dulles State Office Building      Ulster County District Attorney’s
212-961-4475                            Watertown, NY 13601-3744          Consumer Fraud Bureau
Toll free: 1-800-771-7755               315-785-2444                      20 Lucas Ave .
  (Consumer Helpline)                        Kingston, NY 12401
Fax: 212-961-4003                                                         845-340-3260
                                                                                                                 Index                                                       Fax: 845-340-3263

sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion offices

Sullivan Affairs Education Office     Westchester County Dept.             North Carolina
64 Ferndale Loomis Rd .               of Consumer Protection
Cornell Cooperative Extensions        112 East Post Rd ., 4th Floor        State Offices
Liberty, NY 12754                     White Plains, NY 10601
845-292-6180                          914-995-2155                         Consumer Protection Division
Toll free: 1-877-292-5250             Fax: 914-995-3115                    Office of the Attorney General
Fax: 845-292-2154                     E-mail: conpro@westchestergov .com   9001 Mail Service Center                       Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
                                      consumer                             919-716-6000
Nassau County Office of                                                    Toll free: 1-877-566-7226 (NC)
Consumer Affairs                      City Offices                         Fax: 919-716-6050
200 County Seat Dr .                                             
Mineola, NY 11501                     Mt.	Vernon	Office	of	Consumer	
516-571-2600                          Protection/Bureau of Weights         North Dakota
Fax: 516-571-3389                     and	Measures                One Roosevelt Square, Room 11        State Offices
                                      Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Rockland County Office of             914-665-2433                         Consumer Protection and
Consumer Protection                   Fax: 914-665-2496                    Antitrust Division
18 New Hempstead Rd ., 6th Floor            Office of the Attorney General
New City, NY 10956                                                         600 East Blvd . Ave ., Dept . 125
845-708-7600                          New York City Department of          Bismarck, ND 58505
Fax: 845-708-7616                     Consumer Affairs                     701-328-3404              42 Broadway                          Toll free: 1-800-472-2600
                                      New York, NY 10004                   TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (Toll free)
Dutchess County Department            212-487-4444                         Fax: 701-328-5568
of Consumer Affairs                   TTY: 212-487-2710                    E-mail: cpat@nd .gov
98 Peach Rd .                     
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601